Compare and Contrast the Charge of the Light Brigade and Dulce Et Decorum Est

Topics: World War I, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, Charge of the Light Brigade Pages: 21 (9691 words) Published: March 19, 2011
Compare and contrast the two poems ‘Dulce
Et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen and ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

The two poems ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ and ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ were both written during in a war. ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ was written October 1917 during world war one (WW1). The earliest surviving manuscript is the letter he sent it to his Mother, Susan Owen, with the message “Here is a gas poem done yesterday, (which is not private, but not final)”. Wilfred Owens poetry was one of the most famous poets for the First World War. He was born in 1893 and died 1918 one week before the end of WW1. People were quite used to his poems being violent and realistic mainly because he was he had firsthand experience of war. ‘The Charge of The Light Brigade’ was written in 1854 during the Crimean war, it was published in the examiner newspaper December 9th. The Crimean war was the first war to be reported on in newspapers and to have pictures. ‘The Charge of The Light Brigade’ was part of the battle of balaclava. Wilfred Owens poem ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ is an anti war poem. It tells the reader of a group of soldiers coming back from fighting on the front line; they are forced to trudge ‘through sludge; despite being ‘dunk with fatigue’ marching slowly away from the explosives dropping behind towards ‘distant rest’. The reader and the soldiers believe they are out of danger when gas shells start to fall on them, the soldiers struggle to put on their gas masks, but one man does not make it. The reader is told how the man is ‘yelling out and stumbling / and floundering like a man in fire or lime’. Owen wastes no time in telling the reader that he has to throw the man into the back of a wagon, as if he was a piece of meat, worthless. Then he finishes with talking directly to the reader, telling them that no matter what they thought dying for your country is not a glorious thing and it never will be. The first stanza has a general story of the soldiers walking back from the front line but things are not as good as they seem. The image the reader gets from line one is the soldiers are old and tired. ‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks’. The image is not a very positive one. Wilfred Owen uses the word ‘beggars’, because it instantly gives the reader the impression that the men are cold, their clothes are tattered and they have hardly eaten. They are weak and have barely slept, also the conditions they live in are bad just like a ‘beggars would be. I also think that the word could be seen, as a ‘beggar’ has nothing, just like the soldiers. War has taken everything dear to them away all they have left is their lives and it is not easy to stay alive in the conditions they lived in. It is a very powerful word, which makes the reader think of all those thinks I have just mentioned, none of them positive. It is a brilliant way to start a poem it really gets the reader interested and really gets the reader thinking. The second line of the first stanza just continues the negative image and atmosphere that already has the reader hooked to the poem. ‘Knocked-kneed’ when I read this line it made me think of cartoon characters, when they are really scared their knees knock together it made me think that even though the soldiers are walking away from war they must still be scared. It also could mean that they are so weak that they can barely walk and their knees keep knocking together slowing them down. Owen changes the imagery from a ‘beggar’ to a ‘hag’. Most people would associate a ‘hag’ with a witch that was old, tired, had a hunched back and are generally sour evil people. I think Owen has used the word ‘hags’ because war has changed them, they will never be the happy again just like ‘hags’. They are constantly tired and even in some extreme cases they’ll die alone in some catastrophic way just like most witches/’hags’ do in fairy tales. The soldiers are swearing...
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