"In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning"
Immediate separation with Wilfred Owen and the dying soldier is shown metaphorically. Distantly, Owen watches the figure drowning in the sea, as viewed through a porthole window in a ship. Metaphorically the sea shows the might of the ocean, in a storm, and the rescuers powerless to perform their task. Moreover, there is little practical purpose of assisting a soldier in mustard gas, as other soldiers are much exhausted themselves.
"Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning."
The initial lines of Dulce et Decorum est takes the nobility out of war. The soldiers have lost everything, their health, youth and most importantly their dignity. The descriptions of horrible characteristics directly oppose the writing of Jessie Pope, which, in her opinion, was just a game.
"Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,"
The second stanza in Dulce et Decorum est shows the ease of dying on the Front. It is from a personalised view of a soldier caught in mustard gas. This personalised view makes the death of the soldier have a far greater effect. If the death was described in third person the reader would be detached from the action.
The complexity of Dulce et Decorum est demands a lot from the reader, yet the message is clear. Hidden meanings of Dulce et Decorum est make the poem far superior to that of the ignorant pro-war poets this makes the message more effective. The Soldier has a simpler content, as there is no need to attract the attention of other poets.
"My friend, you will not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,"
Sarcastically Owen calls the pro-war poet my friend, this implies a fellow poet, Jessie Pope, rather than an actual friend. Referred to, as friend will not offend the pro-war poet yet it shows their responsibility to tell the truth and there unfavourable effect on the youth. Children suggest the young soldiers enrolling to fight and their respect to authority and the writings of poets. Desperate glory implies the vulnerability of the youth and there excitement for the war. Previous passages show in graphic details the truth about glory and the bitterness faced by the youth. Alone, these two lines show that suffering could have been lessened if the ignorance of pro-war poets was less cruel, but more certainly they express bitter emotions towards the war.
Wilfred Owen named his poem after a well-known Latin phrase for which he has great disgust and the descriptive details, throughout the majority of the poem, emphasise his hate to the phrase. It translates: It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country, it originates from a Roman poet named Horace. Wilfred Owen knows that the pro-war lobby have no understanding of the devastating circumstances at the front and makes his final irony obvious.
"The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori."
Wilfred Owen tells of his horrific experiences, Dulce et Decorum est shows his true feelings, from the soul of the poet. The poem explicitly portrays the dreadful conditions of soldiers on the front and a vivid example is given of the monstrous death caused by mustard gas, alliteration is used to emphasise the hideous state of an individual and the overall dilemma of certain pro-war society.
"Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -"
Dulce et Decorum est is a contrast from the soldier. Brooke Used the peoples love for England to get them to fight while Owen tried to use the peoples love for there life to stop them from going, and he made it clear that all the pro-war poets were lying to them.
In Brooke's poem he sees himself dying in a foreign land, he thinks that when this happens his body will turn to dust, which will be better and 'richer' than that which it is buried in, and he says the reason for this is because he has been sculpted by England and so the dust will be English.
"A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home."
He uses this to try to tell the reader that fear of death should not stop you from going to war for your country because if you do die you will bless the earth you are buried in and it will be 'forever England' so both ways you have conquer the enemy and that is something you should be proud of. Brooke is one the pro-war poets that Owen is trying to address and you can see why, because they hide the sick truth behind a curtain of sweet images.
For Brooke there is no matter of sadness in death, His body will give back his English values to the earth which he is in, the values which he considers so important,
"And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven."
Brooke uses the word English a lot throughout the poem. It represents not only a country, or a place, but also a set of values and etiquettes. And he is telling the soldiers to be that it is there duty to carry this to other countries and places
He tells them that once they are dead and that they have carried this torch across the world they will lose all there sins and there waiting for them will be heaven and off coarse an English one.
Overall Brooke just idolises England and he finds that bit of pride that every Englishman has to push them into going to war.
After careful study of both Dulce et Decorum est and The Soldier, I find Dulce et Decorum est more effective as the message is clear and convincing. There is a great depth of feeling as Owen feels very strongly about devastation of life at the front and this is very evident in his writing. His personal traumatic impression from the front greatly affects the reader.
By Zaid Hadi