Compare and Contrast 'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen and 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke

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Stephanie Kenifick         11y1        English

Compare and Contrast ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen and

‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke

The Great War began in 1914 and ended in 1981. During the four years the war lasted, many young men lost their lives after volunteering to fight for their country. Many powerful poems were written during World War 1. The first poem of two I will be analysing is 'Dulce Et Decorum Est'. The title is taken from a well-known Latin saying ‘Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori’ meaning: ‘It is sweet and noble to die for ones country’. A realistic war poem written by Wilfred Owen during the war. And the second is ‘The Soldier’ a patriotic poem written by Rupert Brooke.


        Wilfred Edward Salter Owen (1893-1981) was born on March 18, 1893, he teached on the continent until September of 1915 when he returned to England to enlist. Owen saw the bloody side of war and fought on the front line until November 4, seven days before the Armistice, he died in a German machine gun attack.

The first stanza of the poem is describing the soldiers, the way they are tired, worn out and badly affected by war. They are retreating from the front line. Owen is giving the debilitating effects of war, using dramatic and oppressive language. In the second stanza Owen describes the soldiers being gassed and the sequence of their death. The tone changed slightly, Owen describes more action, which draws the reader closer, yet still being pessimistic and cynical. In the third, shorter, verse Owen sees a man dying in front of him, in a somewhat dream like sequence. He uses this as a bridge to link the last two verses to the concluding verse. The last verse has the biggest change in tone. Owen is describing throwing the dead man onto a wagon; he appeals directly to the readers’ senses using longer lines, which express feeling. He gets more angry, jeering and sarcastic, as he refers to Jessie Pope.

        As 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' was written during the 3-year period when Owen fought in the war, the poem’s themes are based around death and war. Owen gives a very realistic view of the horrific way the soldiers died, and the poor conditions in which the fought and lived. Owen is trying to let the people back in Britain know the truth about war, rather than the more glorified version other poets such as Jessie Pope portrayed.

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        To really emphasise Owens feeling towards war, he uses many different language techniques.

        In the first verse of 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' Owen sets the tone for the rest of the poem by describing the soldiers as:

        ‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,’

Owen uses this as it effectively describes how tired and worn out they are. It also tells the reader about the poor conditions at the beginning of the poem. Owen describes the soldiers as old beggars, but they are actually young and fit. This is a good use of irony as the effects of war ...

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