All three poems are about the First World War but Peace has a highly patriotic view and displays a positive feeling about war whereas Anthem and Dulce concentrate more on the fact that people were killed for no particular reason and they also look at the true horrors of war. I will mainly be looking at the content and form of the three poems and comparing them to each other.
Anthem and Dulce both portray Owen’s bitterness and anger towards the war and this is shown by the first few lines of both poems, in Dulce: “beggars”(L.1) and “Hags”(L.2), he uses these words to describe the soldiers and in Anthem: “die”(L.1) and “anger”(L.2) are used. Brook however feels that in Peace the world is asleep and dirty without war and only war can cleanse us and wake our youth, which shows that he has a very different view towards war.
The fact that Dulce is written in a narrative form and is a real life encounter make it more convincing and persuasive. It has much more informal language than the other two and the language is hard hitting and effective. Peace’s language is more formal and it seems to flow like a speech, with a build up to a dramatic end. Anthem has been written in a way in which you have to solve a riddle in order to find out what is being said.
Anthem has the same effect as Dulce in the way that both poems start. They both start of by describing the soldiers’ conditions. Anthem does this by using a simile and personification, comparing the dead soldiers to cattle: ” What passing bells for those who die as cattle?” this shows the reader that the soldiers are being thrown in one big grave like “cattle”.
In Anthem the word “holy”(L.11) suggests that there is some relationship to religion. There have also been more religious ideas brought up in the poem such as: “Prayers” (L.5) and “choirs”(L.6/7). This has been used to emphasise the fact that there has been no real funeral for the dead soldiers and despite that, they should still be remembered. Dulce and Peace do not have anything really connected to religion but in the first line of Peace there is a connection to religion when it says:” Now god be thanked who has matched us with his hour”.
Anthem and Peace are sonnets unlike Dulce. Anthems starts of with a quicker pace. It has like all sonnets 14 lines and is divided up into two verses one with 8 lines and the other 6, it has unusual rhyming pattern whereas Dulce and Peace both have rhyming words at the end of every other line.
Dulce is a poem about a company of men in the war. The men do not have human descriptions but seemed to be describes as though they have aged in this war: “bent double, like old beggarsâ€¦”(L.1). Everyone seems to be in a trance: “Men marched asleep”(L.5), there is no conversation, just a slow silent march. When the gas attack occurs the men seem to spring back to life. But one man cannot get his mask on his face and runs through the green sea of gas, he was: “drowning”(L.14), which bring up a similarity between Dulce and Peace that they both have a use of water. In Dulce they are drowning but you cannot drown in gas, you suffocate, so the gas here is being described as a sea of gas. In Peace the water reference is: ” to turn, as swimmers into cleanliness leaping”(L.4), which gives you the idea of men diving into water and sighing a breath of relief as they feel their crimes and sins lifted.
Dulce and Anthem both portray the horrors of war by using different styles, whereas Peace looks at war in a different way from which people can benefit. Dulce and Anthem use different styles in portraying the horrors of war. I think that Dulce is more effective and dramatic because it shows the death of an innocent soldier, who was suffering to save others. The personal feel that is created in Dulce is that it is written in narrative form and using real-life encounter makes the reader understand the soldiers involved making it effective and persuades the reader to believe war is horrific. Anthem on the other hand concentrates more on the consequences of war and how soldiers are neglected when they are dead. Even though the poem is not set in a scene from the war and not much description of killings and violence is present, it is effective due to the use of real, physical objects such as ‘rifles’ and the heavily descriptive words used to describe the action in the poem.
Because of the fact that Dulce is written in narrative form allows the reader to visualise exactly what the conditions of the soldiers were like. In Anthem Owen has deliberately distanced himself from the poem, giving a descriptive account, not a narrative, but more of an unrealistic viewpoint. In Peace Brookes argues that war is a good thing, and needed for life to continue.
Overall all 3 poems try to give the reader an insight to war, Dulce and Anthem trying to convince the reader of the dreadfulness of war, whereas Peace is saying war is good. But Dulce is doing this in the most effective way; this may be because Owen has experience of war unlike Brookes.