Analysis of Poetry about War

Categories: LiteraturePoetry

The first poem I have selected is called “Fall in” by Harold Begbie. This poem is trying to persuade young men to come and join the war because it is a great and noble thing to do. The poem suggests that Britain’s call for young men to join the army is the same as God ordering to do so. However, the poem “Dulce et Decorum est” by Wilfered Owen is commenting on how terrible it is in war and how terrifying it is to have someone die in front of your eyes.

Also, it is commenting on the terrible dreams and memories that effects these soldiers, after the war.

I think that Begbie is trying to get men to go and fight for their own country and if they did not they are cowards. He is also saying if they don’t go they contravene Gods command. However, Owen is angry about the lies that were told to make men go to war and he wants people to know the truth.

The message in “Fall in” is that war is an honourable and glorious thing to do. The poem also suggests that if you fight for your country you will get all the girls, be respected and you can tell your children what you did in the war. However, in the other poem the message is how terrible it is to have a soldier die in front of your eyes under clouds of mustered gas. “Fall in” is saying go to war be brave and fight for your country.

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The reference to ” a girl who cuts you dead?” suggests that if they don’t go to war no woman would want to be seen with them or talk to them because they were afraid to fight for their country. However, in “Dulce et Decorum est” the poet is saying that it is terrible in the war and he is also talking about a soldier who was choking in a clouds of mustered gas “As under a green sea ,I saw him drowning.” Owen is comparing the gas to the “Green sea” because the soldier is drowning while he is fighting for oxygen just like you would do if you were drowning in the sea.

The poems are different as they present very different views of England. In the first poem the view of England is presented as a romantic one of going to football matches, having a pint with your friends and sitting in front of the fire place on a cold winter night. “In the far off winter night, when you sit by the fire in an old man’s chair.” this suggests that in the future when your are old and sitting by the fire place you will be comforted by the memories of fighting bravely during the war. The image in the poem of England does not seem to be realistic because it does not include any negative things. The poem is very patriotic and suggests that when you came back from the war you will be honoured. In the second poem England is not represented, instead it concentrates on the horrific experiences of the soldier in the war itself.

The soldiers are represented as doing something either glorious or horrible. “Fall in” suggests how glorious it is to fight and die for your country. “in the war that kept men free?” This suggests that to fight in the war is a noble, selfless thing to do and you are helping to free people from oppression. However, in the other poem the soldiers are described as doing something dreadful and unpleasant. “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,” this suggests the men look terribly ill, they are starving to death and they are walking slowly like old people. Begbie describes England and the soldiers in a romantic way because he is trying to persuade men to join the army, if he included death in his poem no men would want to go to war. However, Owen describes the soldiers as old people who are dying because he was in the war and saw everything that was going on.

In each poem, the poets uses language devices to get the audience’s attention. The poets use repetition, similes, alliteration and personification . An example of personification in “Dulce et decorum est” is ” Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,” he is trying to emphasise how terrible it is to use mustard gas on a human being. He contrasts the vileness of the gas against the innocents of the human bodies to emphasise this. Owen is using this device to create sympathy for the victim. . An example of personification in “Fall in” is “is it naught to you if your country falls.” he is trying to make men feel guilty and selfish for not going to the war and fighting for their country. Begbei is using personification and a rhetorical question at the same time. He uses this device to make people feel guilty. The use of personification in both poems create very different effects; the first example creates sympathy for the victim and the second one creates guilt.

The poets uses strong imagery and language in their poems to create strong effect on the reader. In “Dulce et decorum est” the poet uses the image of a soldier choking in mustard gas; he describes a solder with “white eyes”, “hanging face”, “froth-corrupted lungs,” these words get the audience’s attention because it makes them think about the man’s face and it creates picture in the readers mind of the horrific suffering the men went through in the war . But in “Fall in” the image is of a young man feeling guilty and embarrassed as he gets older. I know this because in each stanza he asks a rhetorical question and talks about the future ” where will you look When your children yet to be Clamour to learn of the part you took in the war that kept men free?” this give the impression that in the future when the young men have had their own children, they will be made to feel guilty and embarrassed for not having fought in the war.

The tone in the poems are different, because Begbie’s poem is about the glory of fighting for your country whilst in the other poem is about the horrors of war. The sentence “what will you lack when the girls line up in the street, Shouting their love to the lads come back” in the first stanza is an example of guilt. The poet uses rhetorical question which is an very persuasive technique which makes the reader think of the consequences of not fighting in the war. However in the other poem the sentence “my friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory,” this suggests that what will you tell to people to your children about the war, will you tell them about glory or death; gives the feeling of anger in the poets tone.

“Fall in” is divided into four stanzas with eight lines long, using the ABAB rhyming scheme. In this poem each stanza starts with a rhetorical question, an example of a rhetorical question is “Will you send a strangled cheer to the sky and grin till your cheeks are red?” this quote is trying to make people think; it also means will you be cheering with guilt inside you or will you cheer with embarrassment. However the other poem is divided in to 3 stanzas, first two stanzas are eight lines long while the last stanza is 12 lines long. Owen uses the ABAB rhyme scheme which creates a regular rhythm similar to marching soldiers. He uses iambic pentameter which is 10 syllables in the line, unstressed and stressed which is meant to mimic a heart beat.

“Fall in” is effective by persuading men to join the army. However the second poem is effective by talking about the horrific events in the war. Both of the poems are inducing guilt. The first poem is inducing guilt by talking about the consequences if you don’t go to war. However, the other poem is inducing guilt to the government . I think the most effective poem is “Dulce et decorum est” because it is so descriptive and emotional.

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