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War Peotry

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the poems by Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke that you have studied. Comment on the poets' different attitudes to war and the effectiveness of their poetry in conveying their ideas and feelings. The First World War began with flag-waving, parades and writers stimulated by theoretical morals. Additionally, this war commenced with heroism by the notion that 'it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country'. And everyone thought that it was never going to last, as 'over by Christmas' was the national slogan. However, it shortly revealed to be a general failure to understand the true purpose of warfare. For many, the war came as an awakening to the full horror of what the twentieth century came to know as 'the great war'. "We must remember not only that the battle casualties of World War I were many times greater than those of World War II, wiping out virtually a whole generation of young men and shattering so many illusions and ideals; but also that people were wholly unprepared for the horrors of modern trench warfare. World War I broke out on a largely innocent world, a world that still associated warfare with glorious cavalry charges and the noble pursuit of heroic ideals. Those poets who were involved on the front, however romantically they may have felt about the war when they first joined up, soon realized its full horror, and this realization affected both their imaginations and their poetic techniques" (Norton Anthology of English Literature, Fifth Edition, 1891). This war produced a substantial body of poetic work primarily because of the powerful mixture of emotions that inspired the general public to express their views through the written format. And poetry is the best of all to do so. As stated by Samuel Coleridge, poetry is 'the best words in the best order' and so in this sense the poet can perfectly express his/her views and emotions through this form. ...read more.

Middle

A religious overtone is used after this line of the soldier's 'hanging face' being compared to the devil's own image knotted as his 'sick of sin'. Owen magnifies the pain and the suffering by a horrifying description of the soldier's 'froth-corrupted lungs'; these being vile, bitter, cud and incurable as cancer. A very persuasive argument that Owen had been trying to convey comes through very heavily after these descriptions of the soldier's festering, oozing injury. Owen ends with the Latin phrase by claiming it was an 'old lie' that had been perpetuated all across the world; 'Dulce et decorum est/ Pro patria mori', which when translated is 'it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country'. After viewing the graphic images of the afflicted comrade there can't be one who still believes war to be 'sweet'. The irony is somehow overpowering as Owen cleverly juxtaposes the two very contrasting perspectives side by side. He has attacked not simply the Roman poet, Horace, but also Jessie Pope; a civilian who encouraged young men 'with such high zest' to join the army, through her poetry. I strongly think that Owen has put across his message quite heavily among his readers by his use of figurative language and resounding imagery to make people realise that the reality is gruesome rather than glamorous. Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' is considered as a lament for the young soldiers whose lives were unnecessarily lost in the First World War. The content of this poem is contradicting its form; a sonnet, which was usually used to express love and other similar affections. It is largely centered upon the way in which the loss of the lives during this experience affects those back at home; how they are respected and remembered after their deaths. Instantly in the first line, Owen sets out clearly his purpose; to disgust the youth of the atrocious side of battle and consequently discouraging them to join the army. ...read more.

Conclusion

It richly illustrates a time in England where many, if not all of its citizens took a deal of pride in being English; such thoughts among the people of today are very rare to come by and thus it enlightens me with the way that people used to think during the time. 'Dulce et decorum est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', although should be equally credited as 'The Soldier', are mere realisations of the war. It is the harsh truth that is too hard to shallow for some, and I feel that these lack optimism in this sense. 'The Soldier' is more imaginative as Brooke presumes the war to be of a certain sort, when ironically it is the opposite. I enjoy the fact that Brooke has played against the odds, and thought of fighting in the war as an optimistic challenge rather than one which is filled with anger and sorrow. Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke have achieved their sole purpose in their poetry; to make its readers connect and in turn understand their perspective of war. As a personal thought, I would say that the two have made me realise their contexts from which their poetry had originated, and so understand their views. War often brings sympathy as a by-product and I have the same sort of feelings for these poets; Owen for his physical suffering and Brooke for his ignorance or rather his 'wrong place at the wrong time' situation for which he could not be blamed. Moreover, their deaths are quite ironic in the way they carried out their life; Owen died in the very war he opposed so strongly, whereas Brooke, who wanted to desperately didn't. The content with the aid of technical poetic devices have made them produce works which are highly pragmatic to its readers of not just the 21st century but many others to come. Ultimately, War will remain a universal problem that every one of us must try and solve; some have done it with the mighty pen, others with the sword. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Anurag Sharma 11-5 War poetry essay ...read more.

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