Comparison of “Dulce at Decorum Est” and “The Death of a Soldier” Conflict is just as natural to man as cooperation. War has existed as long as the human race. Soldiers sacrifice many things when they go to war: family, safety, morals, the often their lives. Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” and Wallace Stevens's “The Death of a Soldier” both discuss war and its effect on the soldiers who fight in it, particularly the death of soldiers at battle. Both poets agree that dying a martyr at the battlefront is not as honorable and glorious as it is portrayed to be. However, the two poems present the death of a single soldier very differently.
In “The Death of a Soldier,” Stevens compares war to seasons and nature. Death due to war is as expected and insignificant as the changing of seasons and the blowing of winds. “Life contracts and death is expected,/as in season of autumn/ the soldier falls.” Stevens also uses a metaphor in which the passing of the wind represents the passing of a soldier. He says “when the wind stops and, over the heavens,/ the clouds go, nevertheless,/ in their direction.” The death of a single soldier, like the wind, will not ultimately affect the course of battle. Thus, soldiers receive no special recognition, honor, or glory for dying among hundreds of others. “Dulce et Decorum Est” is an account of Owen’s negative experience at war and an attack on propagandists who portray it positively. Owen uses imagery to describe the exhausted soldiers’ worn-out appearance as they march. He compares them to “old beggars under sacks.” He then uses heavier imagery to vividly describe a scene in which a soldier dies from a gas- grenade. Owen reflects, “...I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight.” His helplessness was watching a dying man beg him for help while not being able to do anything, and having to relive that moment again and again in recurring nightmares without being able to control it. He goes onto say that the phrase...
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