The rhyming in “Dulce et Decorum Est” is surprisingly more regular (ABAB rhyming scheme) than Lord Tennyson’s “The Charge of The Light Brigade”. Despite this, the rhymes are not the major feature of the poem and so does not stand out as much as Tennyson’s poem, which relies on rhyming for the tone of the poem. Tennyson uses repeated words at the end of sentences such as: “them”, “them and “them” in the third stanza, or repeated sounds such as: “bare”, “air” and “there” in the fourth stanza. Both poets use sounds effects to convey the tone of the poem. In “Dulce et Decorum Est” the words “sludge” and “trudge” are used to portray the image of slow, painful effort. In “The Charge of The Light Brigade” the rhythm is used as the sound effect, the fast pace, set in threes to resemble the fast cantering pace that the cavalry entered the valley. Repetition was used again to help convey this, such as: “Cannon to the left of them, / Cannon to the right of them, / Cannon in front of them”. This use of rhythm creates a swift easy to read and uplifting tone. However in Owen’s poem there is not set rhythm as it would not suit the eerie atmosphere of the poem, this makes the poem relatively hard to read. Both poets use different stanza lengths, however Tennyson’s are slightly more regular. They both use stanzas to change the subject within the poem. Whereas some lines are rather laborious and slow to read, others are very staccato and sharp, for example the beginning of the second stanza “Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!” A lot of punctuation is used throughout the stanza to convey a rush of emotion and desperation to survive the attack. Although short, the third stanza involves little punctuation and long descriptive verbs “plunges”, “guttering, choking, drowning”, these help convey an image of helpless desperation. Again in the last stanza Owen is passionately angry about Jessie Pope’s attitude. He uses obscene and unpleasant comparatives to war: “Obscene as cancer. Better as the cud”. His rhyming is depressive as he ironically uses “glory” and “mori” (death) at the very end of the poem. In Lord Tennyon’s poem, the rhythm is fast moving, allowing spaces for natural breathing continuing the ongoing theme of horses cantering into their death.
In “Dulce et Decorum Est” Owen relies on metaphors and similes to express his feelings. In the first stanza he has used words with heavy, low sounds such as the B’s and D’s of “Bent double, like old beggars”. Owen continues to use phrases such as “coughing like hags”, all these sounds and similes make the men from the front line sounds old and decrepit, when ironically they are full of youth. The boys are exhausted from poor living conditions, bad food and from little sleep. Owen puts across a sad, despaired and depressed tone. The choice of words, “blood-shod” stands out from the rest of the line, this metaphor was used because the men’s shoes had disintegrated and instead, their feet had bled so much that they were covered in the blood. The last line in the second stanza describes the man to be “drowning” and “under a green sea” because the movements the dying man is making are so exaggerated and slow, as if he were drowning under water. Also the other men were wearing their masks and looking through the green, sea coloured screen at the dying man. There is a comparison in the last stanza, to the man’s “hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin” as even the devil couldn’t stand the pain this man was going through.
In “The Charge of The Light Brigade”, Tennyson uses the euphemism: “blundered” instead of something more obvious, covering up their terrible mistake. Another is the line: “Then they rode back, but not, / Not the six hundred” as a more pleasant way of mentioning the deaths. Each line at the end of every stanza ends in “six hundred” this has a nice sound of closure as the voice naturally drops when reading it. Throughout the poem is a biblical over tone; lines such as “mouth of hell”, “Into the valley of death”, “jaws of death” are used. The period in which the poem was set was a particularly religious one. This is a similarity to Owen’s poem where there are evil associations used. The third and fifth stanzas are repetitions of each other with only a few modifications, as the third stanza is the cavalry riding into the valley and the fifth is them riding out after defeat. “Shot and shell” and “do and die” are used with a glorious tone, encouraging war it seems in the same sense that Owen repented of Jessie Pope. “Plunged” was used in both Owen and Tennyson’s poems, however in very different tones, Owen uses it with a depressive atmosphere and Tennyson uses it to convey a grand and gallant movement. The men’s uniforms and swords are described as “flash”-ing, continuing the glorious, glittering attitude of the cavalry. Throughout the poem, no mention of blood and suffering is mentioned as in “Dulce et Decorum Est” because the aim of the poem is very different to his. Tennyson was reporting as duty, being Poet Laureate of his time, making the people interested feel proud and happy about the events “blunder”.
Personally I prefer “Dulce et Decorum Est”. This is because I agree with Owen and his attitude to war, it being an unnecessary waste of lives, young and old. I also dislike the rhythm and rhyming patterns used in “The Charge of The Light Brigade”, it seems so shallow and meaningless, whereas in Owen’s poem the phrases and subtle rhyming portrays a deeper and more meaningful attitude.