Comparison of Dulce et Decorum Est and The Soldier

Authors Avatar by prana (student)

Comparing The Soldier by Rupert Brooke and Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen

‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen and ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke are both poems about the First World War; and whilst both speak of the same thing they differ greatly in tone and meaning. Both poems show the Authors’ differing experiences of and feelings from the war. The soldier stresses what an undeniable honour it would be to die for England. Dulce, on the other hand, is dark and morbid; almost taunting those who feel dying in war is an honour.

Both poems are rich and evocative. In the soldier, Brooke articulates that it is not only a man’s duty to fight and die for their country but that they (and perhaps their sacrifice) will create a ‘richer dust’ in the already ‘rich earth’, this creates a feeling that even though you may have perished you will continue to provide for your country and that even if you were to die on a ‘foreign field’ it would forever become and hold a piece of England through you. In contrast Dulce et decorum est is a stark account of the true horrors of war, written by someone who had first-hand experience it is a very realistic piece. This realism is used to shock the readers, for example in the first stanza, vivid imagery is used to convey the scene and set up the tone of the poem. Soldiers are described as ‘knock-kneed’ and ‘coughing like hags’; these similes immediately remove some of the prestige attached to war going by likening the soldiers to the old and infirm, those who are too weak and old to care for themselves. ‘All went lame; all blind’ this strips away the glory and conveys the restrictive movement that the soldiers experience through such a suffocating environment.

Join now!

Alliteration is well used in both poems; it establishes rhythm and helps support the tone of the poem. Despite this similarity each poem is also structured very differently. The soldier is measured and paced almost gently. It is also structred as a sonnet, this is a strange structure to use for a war poem and yet also reflects well what Brooks was trying to achieve which was to enhance and glorify war.  Converesly Owen’s Dulce, is more irregular and has a lot of movement and different sentence and stanza lengths.  The imagery and language throughout the poem, relating to the subject, ...

This is a preview of the whole essay