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The two poems, Dulce et decorum est and Charge of the Light Brigade both convey strong opinions about conflict.

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Poem Comparison Essay by Tom Cornall The two poems, "Dulce et decorum est" and "Charge of the Light Brigade" both convey strong opinions about conflict. In Wilfred Owens case, that was the horror and gore of life in the trenches during World War One, which he saw at first hand. In contrast to this, Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote about the almost childish failure of the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. However, unlike Wilfred Owen, Alfred Lord Tennyson was not actually there, but was in London, and devised the poem from an article which he read by W.H.Russell in the Sunday Times. In Stanza 1 of "Dulce et..." Wilfred Owen used a lot of metaphors and other imagery to portray the horrific, gloomy atmosphere for the rest of the poem. He begins by saying "Bent double like old beggars under-sacks" from this quote, we can see that the soldiers were extremely tired, often carrying huge, heavy bags. Or some of the troopers may have been wounded during conflict and unable to walk properly. "Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we trudged through sludge" this is a quite important quote, because it uses the word, 'we' this confirms Wilfred Owen was there, "trudging through sludge" with his fellow soldiers. "Coughing like hags" this coughing could be imagery, or it could be from a previous gas attack in the last battle. "Trudging through sludge" shows that the weather was not perfect, from this; we can estimate that the poem was written in Autumn/Winter time, so the experience would not have been pleasant. ...read more.


"All in the valley of death", this quote shows a mental image of 600 people, all on horseback, hurtling towards their deaths. The reason why Alfred Lord Tennyson says "valley of death", is because so many people died there, all of them victims of a tragic mistake. In Stanza 2, the second line is "Was there a man dismayed ?", this shows that no-one was shocked or annoyed at this order, and that all 600 men were noble and patriotic enough to charge down to the cannons, or as Alfred Lord Tennyson said in Stanza 1, "the Valley of Death". "There's not to make reply", from this quote, we can see that Alfred Lord Tennyson is portraying the ranking order, by saying "There's not to make reply", means it is not the soldiers right to question the order given to them, they just had to attack, no matter what the consequences are. The next quote, "Theirs not to reason why", this means that none of the soldiers could argue or reason the order, this is a very similar quote to the previous one. If anyone had objected, they would probably been shot or injured, in order to enforce discipline. "Theirs but to do and die", this line shows that the leaders of the army didn't really care too much for their men, they think it is their job to just "do and die". "Cannon, to the right of them, cannon, to the left of them cannon, in front of them!", Alfred Lord Tennyson uses "cannon", at the start of the opening 3 lines of Stanza 3, this is probably done to portray the vast amount or the sheer size of the cannons they were hurtling at. ...read more.


Stanza 1 is one of the shorter stanzas in the poem (8 lines long), and is describing the moment the incredibly foolish order is being made. Stanza 2 is depicting the sheer bemusement of the soldiers, who were probably thinking "Why on earth are we being asked to charge towards the cannons?". It is also saying that it is the soldiers place to do what they are told and to not question orders. Stanza 3 is describing the beginning of the soldiers descent down into the valley, while being 'stormed at with shot and shell'. By now its probably not an army of 600 soldiers, but an army consisting of about 420 or so soldiers. Stanza 4 describes the soldiers getting right up close to the ghastly cannons. Even more soldiers were killed in this stanza, probably about 100 or so. Stanza 5 is at the peak of the attack, when most of the light brigade were killed, this is the time when they made impact with the enemy line and were gunned or stabbed down. Stanza 6 is very similar to stanza 3 in "Dulce et Decorum est pro-patria mori", this is because it sums up Alfred Lord Tennyson's beliefs on war and how we should honour those who died. In The Charge of the Light Brigade , it is very clear as to what Alfred Lord Tennyson's opinion on war and conflict is , it is something like this; "We should honour and remember the dead, regard them as heroes, and also remember that they died in an honourable, manly place, full of glory. Word count: 2676 ...read more.

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