Compare and contrast First World War poems

Compare and contrast one First World War poem written before battle began with one poem written in the light of battle experience. Consider in particular the language used, and the different attitudes to dying for one’s country, in the two poems.

‘Dulce et Decorum est’ written by Wilfred Owen in 1918. The poem expresses different ideas because of the writer’s experience, knowledge and understanding of war. Some may say the poem is only from one mans view and Owen only speaks for himself, however, ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ was written in the light of the battle and has details and knowledge behind it.

Owen rejects Brooke’s romantic style.

Owen uses many words that are ugly in texture, words like “guttering”, “choking”, and “drowning”. These not only show how the soldier is suffering, but that he is in a terrible pain that no human being should suffer, this use of diction creates a sense of horror in the poem. The word “blood shod” also shows how the troops have been on their feet for days, not having much time to rest.

This is an effective metaphor of suffering.

Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ tells us the true insanity of the First World War and how bloody it was. The aim of the poem is to also show how horrific war is. Owen does this by creating images, which create an ugly image of war. The dying soldier’s eyes are described as “writhing in his face”. This implies the soldier had no control over himself and is in agony.

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This shows how ugly and dreadful the war was.

Owen uses strong similes. From the first line he describes the troops as being “like old beggars under sacks.” This shows that they are so tired they have been brought down to the level of beggars.

The contrast between Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke’s poems are vastly different and can be clearly seen when comparing war, Owen describes war as being bloody and horrific as he sets such strong graphical imagery to the reader whereas Brooke portrays war as being romantic and beautiful as seen by his use of romantic sentiments.

Wilfred Owen tries to recreate the experience for the reader. He’s not just focusing on what you can see, but he’s also focusing on the senses of hearing when he says, “Come gargling from the froth – corrupted lungs.”

He creates very strong graphic imagery. Owen continues his use of strong metaphors with, “vile, incurable sores”.

“In all my dreams, before my helpless sight” and the horror of the dying soldier lives on in Owen’s dreams, “He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning” This pivotal moment creates images, which Owen wants the readers to see, because he cannot forget.

Wilfred Owen uses short sentences to speed up the pace of the poem in the opening line of the second stanza: “Gas! Gas! Quick boys! He implies the soldiers are terrified. This also creates an image of panic, which indicates physical, heightened emotions in the soldiers. When Owen says, “Many had lost their boots, but limped on, blood-shod.” He shows how poor and bad the conditions the soldiers were in and had to experience, how their shoes were covered in blood and how tired they became.

Unlike Owen, Rupert Brooke is weaker on imagery because Owen expresses many aspects of his poem using terrified and gory imagery whereas Brooke rarely uses it, however he does comment on the contrast of blood and red wine in the Octave, which gives the reader a sense of feeling of the war, this maybe because Rupert Brooke did not experience the world war and Wilfred Owen did.

Wilfred Owen wrote the poem “To a certain lady poetess”, Jessie Pope, implying that war was not romantic. He wanted to explode the myth that death is romantic and beautiful.

Wilfred Owen’s poem totally contradicts the title ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ which means that it is sweet to die for your country. However, by calling it the “old lie”, the reader recognizes the irony involved.

Unlike Brooke, Wilfred Owen’s poem shows that romantic war poetry is wrong and his aim in this poem is to show the pity of war and how disgusting war is. Rupert Brooke on the other hand aims to glorify war.

“The Dead” was written by Rupert Brooke in 1914. Rupert Brooke was a young and na�ve patriot. He wrote this poem anterior to battle.

‘The Dead’ is a romantic, passionate Sonnet that deals with second-hand sentiments. “poured out the red Sweet wine of youth”, is a romantic metaphor to express the beauty of dying in war. This metaphor is trying to imply blood in battle is beautiful as it is being compared to red, sweet wine. Rupert Brooke aims to write a patriotic poem. He expresses the world war as being heroic and beautiful.

In line 1 “the rich Dead” are known to be the soldiers and they are rich in their nobility, pride, honour and sacrifice. They are not rich in material like gold but rich in sacrifice.

Brooke repeats “Blow, bugles, blow!” in both the stanzas; this suggests we must celebrate their death.

‘The Dead’ is more of an emotional, sentimental poem than ‘Dulce et Decorum est’. One example can be seen in the sestet: “Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain”. These romantic textured words ‘Love’ and ‘Pain’ are strong emotions that Brooke uses. Rupert Brooke having not experienced war is writing to inspire young men.

Comparing the way in which the soldiers are experiencing war and dying ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ is very much more agonizing, mainly because of Wilfred Owens use of imagery, picturing the soldiers exhausted, tired and horrified in the first stanza of the poem however Rupert Brooke emphasizes ‘The Dead’ being naive, futile and misguided.

In the sestet, Rupert Brooke believes that the death of the soldiers brings back “holiness”, “nobleness” and “honour” to their country. This conclusion contains the idea that Britain is a better country for being at war. War gives us rich rewards.

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 Compare and contrast First World War poems. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/compare-contrast-first-world-war-poems-new-essay

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