Compare the Presentation of War in ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen and ‘for the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon

Topics: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, Poetry, Dulce et Decorum Est Pages: 3 (1348 words) Published: April 21, 2013
‘For the Fallen’ and ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ are two very different poems indirectly expressing Wilfred Owen and Laurence Binyon’s views on war. The contrast of the poems is mainly down to when they were written as Binyon wrote his poem at the very beginning of the war, meaning the poem has a very propagandist and optimistic outlook on the war. He also wrote it before he visited the front in 1916. However Owen wrote his poem near to the end of the war, in hospital, after fighting on the western front. Many of his close friends had died during the war, which probably influenced a lot of the anger in his poems. It is clear in Owen’s poem that he feels there is absolutely no honour in dying for one’s country. He describes a fellow soldier killed in a gas attack, ‘flound’ring like a man in fire or lime’ followed by, ‘behind the wagon that we flung him in.’ The second quote gives the impression that this soldier is just one of many thousands of unnamed individuals who were killed and carted off without any funeral. It gives a message to propagandists and people who think war is glorious, that it is nothing of the sort. Also Owen’s title ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’, means: ‘It is sweet and fitting’. However the poem completely undermines the title saying the opposite and ending with ‘The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.' Owen uses heavy irony in the title and could also be directing this quote at officers who originally led many soldiers to their death. By contrast, Binyon describes the death of the soldiers at war very differently: ‘Death august and royal’. Binyon personifies death and makes it honourable, dignifying the death of the soldiers. Binyon also describes the dead soldiers ‘As the stars are known to the Night,’ which implies that they are always there, even if they are not seen in the day, but remembered in their family’s dreams every night. Furthermore the title: ‘For the Fallen’ is a euphemism, which like the poem avoids the fact that the...
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