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 have made the soldiers appear aged and tired.
Also in the first verse Wilfred Owen describes the soldiers as ‘knock-kneed’ this is an appropriate use of alliteration because it makes the soldiers seem almost at the state of collapse due to exhaust. It implies they are fearful and very aged. Alliteration is also used in the last verse:
‘Incurable sores on innocent tongues’
This is effective because it portrays the uselessness Owen felt at that time. A short line ‘Men marched asleep’ implies they are lacking in enthusiasm and drive. Also it is a euphemism for death, one of the main themes of the poem, this makes it a very powerful line in the poem.
Owen uses repetition to emphasise panic on the first line of the second stanza:
‘Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!’
The exclamation mark and the capital letters are used to show panic and quicken the pace of the poem, as are the verbs used in the second verse, such as ‘fumbling’ ‘fitting’ ‘yelling’ ‘stumbling’ and ‘floundering’. Also the faster moving pace of the second verse of 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' brings the reader closer to the poem by zooming in on a specific incident and then focussing in on one individual.
The last line of the second verse reads:
‘As under a green sea, I saw him drowning’
The metaphor ‘green sea’ describes the sensation of death due to gas. And the verb ‘drowning’ is effective because when being gassed it feels like you are drowning. The verb is used again to continue the image and enforce the harshness of this sort of death.
The third short stanza is only two lines long, Owen is describing a dream in which he feels like he can not do anything about a nab dying of chlorine poisoning, the word ‘helpless’ emphasises this well.
Also, to emphasise the pain of dying due to gas Owen uses the rule of three;
‘Guttering, choking, drowning’
Owen effectively uses the rule of three as it successfully describes the stages of dying.
But the most important and meaningful section of the poem are the last four lines. Wilfred Owen talks to ‘my friend’. This is a specific reference to Jessie Pope, a World War 1 poet who wrote jingoistic poems. He says:
‘The old Lie. Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori’
Meaning ‘It is sweet and noble to die for one’s country’ in Latin. He is letting the people at home know that that is an idea that is no longer true, an old fashioned view on the war. He is giving a more realistic view of war, which authors such as Jessie Pope and Rupert Brooke fail to do.
In 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' the rhyme scheme is quite regular throughout. This represents the beat of the soldiers marching. This fits the mood of the poem, because although Wilfred Owen is angry, he is still in the war, still marching, still fighting. The poem is split into four main verses, the first is eight lines long, the second 6, the third two and the fourth twelve lines long. These represent the chaotic war life the soldiers live in. It is irregular throughout and slightly disjointed, representing the randomness of the war.
Throughout the poem Wilfred Owen discusses the horrific side towards war, however, in the next poem I am going to discuss, the poet mentions the more patriotic view of war.
'The Soldier' was written by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915). He was unaware of the terrible conditions in the trenches as he saw little action during the Great War. This gives him a much more glorified view of war.
In 'The Soldier' Brooke is describing his death. He is not scared of dying, he describes the way he will feel when he dies and how good it will be. Although the poem is patriotic and optimistic the themes of war, death and dreams are still included.
Rupert Brooke uses many language techniques to portray his feelings.
He uses repetition of the word ‘England’ to show his patriotism, he believes England gives out love for her soldiers. Brooke refers to the English country as ‘her’:
‘Gave once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam’
This use of personification is effective. It shows Brooke’s almost romantic view towards his country, making the reader feel proud for his country aswell. Religious overtones such as ‘evil shed away’ ‘eternal mind’ ‘blessed’ and ‘English heaven’ are used throughout 'The Soldier' to show purity and to portray the typical English views.
To make the poem calm and poetic Brooke uses natural imagery such as ‘air’ ‘river’ and ‘flowers’. Because of the effect of the poetic words the reader feels quite happy and calm.
Also, soft sounding alliteration is used to make the reader feel optimistic;
‘Sights and sound’
Rupert Brooke believes that no matter where he dies, he will still be representing his country. He believes that if he died on foreign grounds, his body would enrich the soil with his English values. Brooke thinks his death will not be in vain as his decomposing person will shape the ground it lies on and in death, Brooke can give back what he feels England gave to him;
‘In that rich earth a richer dust concealed’
‘A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware’
Brooke’s jingoistic poem makes the reader feel proud for England, but although he loves his country, his idealistic view toward war is quite naïve.
The beginning of the poem Brooke describes his death, and how his English values would enrich the foreign soil. The tone is happy, calm and optimistic. Using the word ‘And’ in the second verse Brooke slightly changes the tone of the poem by making it more meaningful, portraying England as a mother figure. In the second verse he talks about what he can give back to England, instead of the foreign land. The tone stays the same basically throughout the poem; it is consistently light, joyful and patriotic.
'The Soldier' is written in sonnet form, a strict fourteen-line verse structure and rhyme pattern. The sonnet form represents love. I believe Brooke used this form to show the love for his country. Also, sonnets are typical English writing, which is appropriate because throughout the poem Brooke refers to English values and English views.
In comparison to Rupert Brooke’s patriarchal view towards war, Wilfred Owen thinks very differently, he believes war to be a terrible thing. I know this because of the uses of tone throughout both poems. Brooke uses tone to create an optimistic feeling where as Owen uses it to create more cynical overtones. Owen uses many powerful verbs such as ‘yelling’ ‘stumbling’ and ‘floundering’ to create a feeling of the soldiers being clumsy in a panic, where as Brooke only uses one verb in his poem;
‘Breathing English air’
Brooke uses this verb to personify England, portraying a much different effect to the reader. Both authors use many different language techniques to portray their feelings. However, the two poems 'The Soldier' and 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' also have a lot in common. Both Brooke and Owen use alliteration to emphasise their feelings, but Brooke uses softer sounding alliteration where as Owen uses harder, angrier alliteration. The same techniques are used by both authors, but with a different effect given to the reader. They also both use repetition, although in very different ways. Where Brooke is repeating ‘England’ giving a jingoistic view towards war, typical of the time, Owen was repeating ‘Gas’ giving a realistic view.
Personally I preferred 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' because it was a much more effective and hard-hitting poem than 'The Soldier'. I preferred the war Owen told the truth about war, and I disliked Brooke’s optimistic view, as he did not actually experience war first hand.
The two poems 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'The Soldier' have broadened my opinion towards World War 1. They told me the different points of view people had. Everyone in Britain was told how great war was, and how noble it was to die for your country, but really, as Owen explained, it was a horrific time. Many people died and they lived in terrible conditions. The two poems 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'The Soldier' have shown me this.