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Is it sweet and fitting to die for ones country?

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Introduction

"It is sweet and fitting to die for ones country" What are Tennyson's and Owen's views on this? 'The charge of the light brigade' was written in 1854 by Alfred Lord Tennyson, to honour those who died in war, in the battle of Balaclava. The poem was written during the Crimean war and published in the Times, newspaper. Tennyson's attitude towards war was based on what he read in the newspapers. He was a poet laureate. Wilfred Owen's also wrote a poem called "Dulce et decorum est" he was born in 1893 and died at a very young age in 1918. He died during the battle; therefore his poem reflects his experiences. Both poems were written in different decades, and therefore are about different wars, and consequently, clearly illustrating the changing attitudes to war these poems are describing. One author saying how war is such a great thing and how brave the soldiers were and how it was a thing they just had to do. In contrast the other author is saying, how terrible war is and also emphasizes the death and injuries. Tennyson describes the glory and heroism of war, rather than the death and stupidity. Starting with the 'Charge of the Light Brigade' Tennyson uses imagery and figurative language creates the tone of exhilaration and the theme of honouring the Light Brigade. 'Charge of the Light Brigade' can be divided down into three different parts, the charge towards the battle, the scene where the battle takes place and lastly, where they retreat and flee from their enemies. The first stanza starts off with repetition, the effect of using this is to emphasise the point it's trying to make, in this case, emphasising the distance they travelled, "half a league." ...read more.

Middle

Another simile also used to express the men's wretched condition after fighting in war is, 'coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge.' The use of onomatopoeia highlights the sticky and thick mud that the men forced themselves to travel through. 'Coughing like hags' this shows that they're being compared to drowsy, ugly women. When Owen writes 'we', he makes the poem seem much more personal. All these soldiers are completely drained and warn out from a demanding day. 'And towards our distant rest began to trudge,' insinuating that the soldiers are dragging their feet to their much expected moments of relax before they have to go back again. The soldiers are physically and mentally crushed, as it is conveyed in this effective metaphor, 'men marched asleep.' The contrasting of 'march' and 'asleep' strongly underlines how exhausted they were and yet they had to keep on walking with will power. Most of the men had lost their boots and therefore were limping because their feet were cut and bleeding, 'but limped on, blood shod,' implying they were physically and mentally in pain and they are suffering a great deal to get back to their trenches. "Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots". With this vivid description, you can almost imagine large numbers of people dragging their boots through the mud, tripping over their own shadow. This stanza concentrates on the soldiers' discomforts and struggles. They don't notice what's going on in the background, 'of tired, outstripped five-nines that dropped behind,' suggesting that they're not able to focus their attention to the bombs because the suffering of this journey is enough to think about. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tennyson sees war as a time to represent your country, Owen on the other hand sees war as a waste of life. Death is seen as something positive in "The Charge of the Light Brigade" whereas in "Dulce et Decorum est," there is nothing glorious or heroic about dying with "froth corrupted lungs." Tennyson's opinion of the soldiers is that they are heroes but this is based from reading an article which reported the incident which is in contrast to Owen's personal experience of war, in this sense, Owen seems to have the right to call the soldiers as ' hags' and 'beggars'. The message that Tennyson is trying to send is that the light brigade are to be remembered and honoured for their services and Owens message is that it is NOT sweet and fitting to die for one's country so that ordinary people, the public, who are being brainwashed by people trying to persuade them to join the army don't join because they should know what war truly is like. His poem is targeted to people like Jessie Pope, Jingoists who are trying to persuade people to join the army. Personally, I preferred Dulce because it was written by someone who had personal, first hand experience of war so he knows what he's talking about. However, I do not agree with his message entirely, as sometimes you can do incredibly heroic things whilst fighting for your country, and be remember for countless years on end as a hero. A modern day example is Remembrance Day where we give a minute or so honouring those who gave up their lives for us today. So to some extent, dying for your country is quite honourable because it doesn't matter how you die. ?? ?? ?? ?? Pranav Patel 10BSG Pranav Patel 10BSG ...read more.

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