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Compare and contrast the soldier and futility Essay

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The Soldier’ and ‘Futility’ are two poems which discuss war. Both poems were written during the war by Englishmen. Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke died in different stages of the war as a result of it. Both poems discuss death and hate in several ways. The two say that there is a lot of hate in war but they each see death for your country from a different perspective. In ‘Futility’ Wilfred Owen says that war is a terrible thing because there are so many casualties. He also says that the cause of war is usually petty and that people dying for their country is awful.

As well as this he says that it is better to live than die doing your duty. Wilfred Owen has a different view towards war because he lived through most of it. He was killed during the final year of the war, in 1918. Rupert Brooke, on the other hand, didn’t live through much of the war. He died in the early stages of it, in 1915. He was twenty-eight years old. In his opinion war is necessary and one had a duty to fight for King/Queen and country. Rupert Brooke also thinks that people should be proud to fight for their country as we see in the words ‘Dulce et decorum est’, which is Latin for ‘wonderful thing to die for your country’.

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These words are found in another of Wilfred Owens poems though but it is used sarcastically. It is as if Wilfred Owen is laughing at the people getting gassed and dying like in his other poem ‘The Last Laugh’. The poem ‘Futility’ shows the negatives of war such as people dying doing their duty. These people didn’t want to go and fight, they were persuaded by their friends and fellow women. The women thought that a man wasn’t ‘attractive’ or ‘whole’ unless he wore a soldier’s uniform. This made the men feel terrible and that they would never find a partner unless they sign up. They were also persuaded by the government.

They would sack people so that they had no choice but to join. The government also put propaganda posters up with children asking their father ‘What did you do during the great war? ‘ Many people gave into this; they paid the consequences by being killed. ‘The Soldier’ speaks of the positive things about war such as dying with friends or doing what they were born to do. It also says that this is an idyllic world and that they should always take the chance to fight for their King/Queen and country when it is given. The poem is a very patriotic one as it repeats English and England many times. This shows Rupert Brooke’s love for his country.

This poem also has no sense of animosity or resentment towards war. ‘The Soldier’ says that each person is unimportant but in ‘Futility’ it says that every person is important. The style and structure of each poem is very different. Even though both poems are fourteen lines long and they both use euphemisms there are many differences. ‘The Soldier’ is a sonnet and concentrates on England whereas ‘Futility’ is not a sonnet and has more symbolism. There are rhetorical questions used in ‘Futility’ and it is written in the third person. ‘The Soldier’, however, is in the first person and hasn’t got any rhetorical questions.

It is also written in Iambic Pentameter and is a Petrarchan or an Italian sonnet. Both poems are rhythmic and have rhymes in them. ‘The Soldier’ has rhyming every second line whereas ‘Futility’ has half rhymes every other. For example ‘snow’ from line five and ‘know’ from line seven. Both ‘Futility’ and ‘The Soldier’ have religious connotations and mention the sun. The sun has an immense amount of significance in the poems because it is the complete opposite to what the poems discuss. The sun has life-giving powers whereas both poems talk about death. Only ‘Futility’ has personifications.

These include ‘Think how it wakes the seeds. ‘ This shows us how the sun has life-giving powers. Another example is ‘Gently its touch awoke him once’ which also talks about the sun. These two give the sun attributes which it hasn’t got. ‘The Soldier’ talks about himself and how he would always be English even if he was buried in a foreign country. This is shown by the lines ‘If I should die think only this of me; that there’s some corner of a foreign field, that is forever England’. This also shows that he is thankful for being English and he would put his life on the line for his country.

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