Conflict with Macbeth and World War 1 Poetry

Topics: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Duncan I of Scotland Pages: 5 (2002 words) Published: February 19, 2012
During this essay I am going to write about the many diverse ways in which conflict is presented in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Wilfred Owen’s Poetry of World War 1. I will be comparing the ways in which Macbeth and 3 poems written by Owen; Mental Cases, The Next War and Dulce Et Decorum Est, link with each other. Macbeth is a play written in 1606 by Shakespeare who wrote plays to entertain his audience. On the other hand, Owen was a soldier in World War 1 when he wrote famous poems; he wrote them to tell us about the tragedies of war and he expressed his thoughts and feelings about war and conflict. Owen’s poems are influenced by his own experiences of war. In Macbeth the conflict shown by Macbeth and the other characters, gives us an idea of how Macbeth’s rivalry between certain characters in the play depicted the whole play itself. For example, Macbeth’s conflict with King Duncan shows how Macbeth was such an easy target for the witches because they predicted he would be the next Thane of Cawdor which came true, then they predicted he would be the next King, but when Duncan announced Malcolm to be the next heir to the throne, Macbeth become insecure and had the thoughts of killing Duncan. “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself” – Macbeth’s excessive ambition is like a horse that tries to jump too high but it falls on the other side of the fence, also Shakespeare uses a metaphor to describe Macbeth’s ambition as ‘vaulting’ like a horse. Shakespeare brings the idea of Macbeth killing Duncan to life. Similarly, Wilfred Owen presents the conflict in his poems in ways which he relentlessly unveils the full scale of the war’s horrors. For example, in Owen’s poem ‘Mental Cases’, the conflict the soldiers have with the violent conditions they had to live in, Owen presents the mental torment suffered by the patients in this poem. He uses the simile “like a wound” to show that their wounds are still fresh and present in their minds. The words such as ‘blade’ and ‘bleeds afresh’ suggest that they have been brutally ripped open by the conflict happening in their minds. Owen’s poem ‘Mental Cases’ shows us the mental anguish the soldiers had to go through during the World War. He uses the simile “baring teeth that leak like skulls, teeth wicked” to describe the soldiers as skeletons because they’re half dead from fighting continuously in the war; this shows how the poems title ‘Mental Cases’ links with the whole concept of the soldiers being half dead because their minds have been taken over by the trauma of the war. “Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles” – the use of violent imagery to emphasise the way in which the soldiers are continuously surrounded by gun-shots (‘batter of guns’) and dead bodies (‘flying muscles’). “Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh” – Owen uses a simile, also a personified phrase to highlight the way the soldiers wake up to constant violence around them. Wilfred Owen uses words such as ‘skulls’ to show that the soldiers were like skeletons; half dead. Also he uses ‘ravished’ to give more power to the poem, to demonstrate that the horrors have taken over the soldiers’ minds. This poem links with Macbeth due to the way in which Macbeth is mentally tormented because of the crimes he’s committed which are now acting upon him, just the way the patients are mentally tormented because of the tragic war. Shakespeare uses the personified phrase “art thou not fatal vision sensible to feeling as to sight?” to accentuate that Macbeth can only see the dagger in his mind but it’s not really there. “Here’s the smell of blood still, all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten” – Shakespeare manipulates the use of the senses to show that Lady Macbeth is saying that there is no perfume of this world which shall ‘sweeten’ our sinful hands; which emphasises that Lady Macbeth still thinks about the murder of King Duncan. Shakespeare also uses...
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