Dulce Et Decorum Est and the Soldier

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‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen and ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke are poems about war which treat their subjects differently. Both poems are examples of the authors’ perceptions of war; Owen’s being about its bitter reality and Brooke’s about the glory of dying for one’s country. ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is divided into four stanzas, the first two of which set and develop the scene, while the third and fourth convey and offer a commentary on what has preceded. ‘The Soldier’ is a Petrarchan sonnet divided into two stanzas. The initial octave lays out Brooke’s thoughts and feelings regarding his subject, with the sestet offering a definitive final comment.

There are various differences between ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ and ‘The Soldier’. While ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ conveys the ruthless reality of war and mocks the very act of patriotic death, Brooke uses ‘The Soldier’ to stress it is undeniably a honour to die for ones country, in this case ‘England’. Brooke uses a different approach, and expresses that not only is it every man’s duty to fight and die for his country to preserve perfection, but once dead, the ashes shall physically enrich the already ‘rich’ soil “In that rich earth, a richer dust concealed”. England is personified as being a mother to him and others “A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware”, presenting motherly images of nourishment.

On the other hand ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is a lucid protest against the unspeakable horrors of war. This poem tells of the true effects war has on soldiers. Owen uses his personal experiences to present an incredibly realistic image, and sets out to shock his readers. In the first stanza of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, is conveying the scene by the use of vivid imagery. The similes of battle weary soldiers “like old beggars under sacks… coughing like hags” convey the restrictive movement within the soldiers. Enter the second stanza, and Owen has recreated the start of a gas attack “Gas! GAS! Quick boys!”....
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