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War Poetry GCSE

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War Poetry Coursework War is a very sensitive subject for some people. Many people have different views, for and against. Two historical figures who share these disbeliefs of whether war is moral or not with each other are Shakespeare and Wilfred Owen (a WW1 soldier). Shakespeare was very pro war, believing it was very noble to fight and possibly die for your country. On the contrary Wilfred Owen had experienced war first hand, unlike Shakespeare, so he could offer a more believable reason for being Anti-War. In a realistic world, Shakespeare is being very patriotic and is blanking himself from the reality. War is generally unpleasant and very graphic. However Shakespeare demonstrates a failure to grasp this point. Personally he has never been involved in any war or conflict so his reliability about the subject is left questionable where as Wilfred has actually fought in horrific condition and suffered we may be able to deem Wilfred's work more suitable for the truth on the subject. People's views were different in different times however and due to the vast time gap we may use this as a reasonable explanation for the varying viewpoints. ...read more.


We find this out when Henry V says 'Then He will strip his sleeve and show his scars/And say "These wounds I had on Saint Crispin's Day." ' This backs up the fact that being injured is a form of pride one shouldn't go looking for but would not fear if it happened and then he may use the scars as a medal. These also back up the claim of being immortal by showing that they survive after such events. Wilfred Owens poem completely counter-acts Shakespeare's words. He forgets the subject of honour, he doesn't mind whether there are 10 or 10 million fighting as honour means nothing to him. He states in as many words that fighting like he was is not worth any share of honour. He tells us how 'Men marched asleep' and how they were 'Drunk with fatigue'. This paints a vivid picture of how the soldiers are fighting. Hinting to us that they are very tired and want nothing more than sleep but no do most actions subconsciously. The key points which Owen makes are strongly about the negativity of war. However this negativity is contained within different sections, description of life on the front lines as a soldier, the witnessing of a gas attack and then a description of how he perceives war. ...read more.


Another phrase 'Coughing like hags' is also used as we can all picture this unpleasant image and we can all relate to it immediately. Wilfred also hints to us that he had recurring dreams of his friends dying when he says 'In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, and drowning'. This is an awful thing to have playing on your mind and Wilfred knows we will know so uses this purposely to describe his time fighting in the war. Throughout the poem Owens points come across a lot stronger and make it easier for me to believe which would be more like war today. Times have changed since Shakespeare wrote his poem but still in my opinion war should never be glorified it is a deep complex subject that is difficult to understand fully. However from the words of Wilfred Owen I now have a clearer idea of what and everyday soldier would have to endure. Shakespeare's opinion of honour don't appeal to me, I wouldn't like to die under the false pretences that I would be remembered as a great hero when chance are I probably wouldn't. ...read more.

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