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Wilfred Owen and Jesse Pope (Dulce Et Decorum Est VS Who's For the Game?)

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World War I Poetry Analysis World War I, also known as the War to End All Wars, was a worldwide conflict which occurred between 1914 to 1918. A majority of the fighting took place in Europe between the Entente Powers (comprised of France, Russia, and the United Kingdom) and the Central Powers (comprised of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and the Ottoman Empires). The occurrence of the war was very momentous and left a permanent scar in the lives of many, most notably the brave soldiers that fought in the war. The conflict was seen as a tragic event in the eyes of many. On the other hand, it could be seen as a platform for the birth of a new form of literature: war poetry. When the news of the war struck countries such as France and the United Kingdom, numerous advertisements were published in newspapers in an attempt to recruit soldiers in the army. One of the most persuasive methods used were poems which were guaranteed to embellish the rewards of a soldier. As intriguing as they seemed, the poems were just another sly ruse to lure young, innocent men into joining the army. An example of such a poem is Who's For the Game? by Jessie Pope. Pope was an English poet and journalist who was renowned for her inspiring yet deceitful poems which were published during World War I. Some saw her poem as a bundle of optimism and believed that they should join the army because, after all, war was just a game. However, there were a handful of people who begged to differ. ...read more.


The phrase, "blood-shod" explains how the men are covered in blood due to the harsh battles they had fought in. Despite the fact that the men are on war grounds, they are so exhausted that they are unable to hear the bombs. This is stated in the quotation, "deaf even to the hoots". The last line of the first stanza explains that a shell has just dropped behind the men. The author uses short sentences with exclamation marks to create suspense and drama within the poem. This can be examined in the first line of the second stanza, through the use of the words, "Gas! Gas! Quick boys!". A sense of excitement and a sudden rush of adrenaline can be observed when it is stated, "an ecstasy of fumbling". Although most of the soldiers were successful in putting on their helmets, there was one man that had not managed to do so. This is evident through the quotation, "But someone was still yelling out and stumbling". Throughout the next few lines, the man is described to be drowning in the gas, which is characterized as a form of liquid. The words "floundering", "drowning" and "green sea" demonstrate this. The third stanza is possibly the most crucial stanza in the entire poem because the poet directly refers to himself and his thoughts. His thoughts are given much importance as they are in a separate stanza. Although the stanza is only two lines long, a combination of emotions can be felt when reading it. The first line of the stanza is, "In all my dreams, before my helpless sight". ...read more.


It is fairly clear that Owen found war disturbing and traumatic, while Pope gave readers the false impression that war is a pleasant event. An informal tone is present in Who's for the Game?, while a rather serious tone can be examined in Dulce et Decorum Est. Pope refers to the war as a type of race or a football match and as a result, this creates a very casual tone in the poem. On the other hand, Dulce et Decorum Est is very formal, yet simple at the same time because it shows no signs of exaggeration, but rather the raw facts of the war. Pope used her sarcastic comments to her advantage in order to persuade the people of England. On the other hand, Owen merely stated the kinds of events that took place in war. Dulce et Decorum est and Who's for the Game? are two of the most famous poems that were written during World War I. Both poems managed to capture the personal views of both poets. It is possible that both poems received so much popularity because of the way in which the ideas contrasted each other. Pope managed to convey the message that war was a ticket to glory, while Owen believed that war was, and never would be, something sweet and proper. During the time when both poems were published, the people of England were exposed to two conflicting opinions of war. It will never be known which poem was more successful, but mankind will never fail to realize the way in which World War I changed the entire world, and possibly, the face of literature itself. ...read more.

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