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What attitudes do these poets convey towards War and Death

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Introduction

What attitudes do these poets convey towards War and Death? Throughout the War from 1914 to 1918, poets' attitudes towards war and death changed quite dramatically. During the early years, poets such as Pope and Begbie were endorsed by the Government to portray war as a glorious thing, using a very strong propaganda style. Another similar style of poetry to propaganda was idealism, with many of the same facets. It too aimed to glorify war, but this time portrayed it as holy, and death as a path to Heaven with strong patriotic influences. Finally, during the harder periods of the conflict from 1917 onwards, the realism style began to take a more prominent role. Produced by the soldiers themselves, such as Owen, these poems began to shine a light on the realities and horrors of war and death. It was also closely related with the individualism of some soldier-poets. Jesse Pope's poems had a distinct propaganda style, and portrayed war as a way of personally benefiting (through getting girls, having fun etc.) also illustrating war as an extremely patriotic deed, and hinting at duty. However, she did not acknowledge death as a possibility to keep her poems upbeat. ...read more.

Middle

This style of thought and writing led to the Idealism style of poetry. One such soldier poet, Rupert Brooke depicted WW1 as a holy war, and death as a path to heaven. In his poem, 'The Soldier", he describes his death as a patriotic death and a benefit to England. "If I should die... ... there's some corner of a foreign field That is forever England" Here he states that where he is buried, that plot will remain 'forever England', as he, a product of England is there. He describes an Englishman dying as forgiveness for sin, a 'pay back' to England AND God, and states that the death of an Englishman is not the death of that piece of England. He illustrates death of an Englishman, not as loosing part of England, but rather preserving that part of England, through being buried. In this poem, he focuses almost explicitly on death, and only brushes on war, but we can see that he saw War as a means to fulfil the duty of an Englishman to "pay back" for all that England has given. In another of Brook's poems, "Peace", he describes war as a way of cleansing man and making them manlier. ...read more.

Conclusion

As such, he is suggesting that war has pushed them to the furthest they can stretch. He goes on to call even the shells 'tired'. These descriptions of the facets of war, all tired, let us assume that his attitude towards war is that of an ongoing, never ending and torturing war, as it tests the limits of the pawns on its board. More generally, Owen uses Dulce et Decorum Est as a platform to voice his beliefs and opinions of many Propaganda poems, attacking those that did not experience war first hand, and described it as patriotic: "Knock-kneed, coughing like hags... Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod." In this extract, we see the humiliation of the soldiers, moving to their posts 'like hags' as opposed to many poems' descriptions: heroes. The continuing lines augment this, detailing the men as "limp[ing], asleep [and] blood-shod". As said before, this directly contrasts many descriptions in propaganda style writing. It is supposed that the last lines of the poem, "The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." , are directly aimed as a response to Jesse Pope's poem, Who's for the Game? By comparing and contrasting the different types of poetry written during the Great War, we can therefore see how attitudes towards war and death changed, as the realities of mechanised warfare became vividly apparent. ...read more.

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