My Other poem that I have analysed is “Charge of the Light Brigade” written by Alfred Lord Tennyson about the Crimean war in 1855. In this poem Tennyson has a positive point of view which is the opposite of Owen. Tennyson shows a patriotic view with the words “Hero”, “Noble” and “Glory” to fight for and die for your country; ironically that is the meaning of “Dulce et Decorum Est”. Owen has written “Dulce et Decorum Est” in stanzas. The pace of the first stanza is really slow “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks”.
This shows the tiredness of the soldiers, therefore that they are really weak and tired mainly because of the lack of sleep during war. This therefore leads to fatigue, injury and disease. They would have been “Bent double” because of all the heavy equipment they have to carry during war. It is shocking how he compares the soldiers to “old” because normally you would expect a soldier to be fighting fit. The words “Trudged”, “Limped on” also help emphasise how tired the soldiers would have been. This also shows the effect of the war on the soldiers.
The second stanza the pace quickens rapidly with the use of short sentences. “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! ” This how fast the soldiers react even though they are tired and exhausted but it wouldn’t just be there body’s that are tired there mind’s are as well. The words “Fumbling” and Flound’ring” help to show the state of panic and urgency of the men are in. “The charge of the light brigade” is written in a ballad form. The poem is about six hundred men who are on horse back during the Crimean war. He has written the poem in that form to help show and repeat key points.
The first few lines say “half a league, half a league, half a league onwards”. The use of this repetition is to show how far the men have come to fight for there country, All the way through the poem there is a dactylic rhythm to emphasis the horse’s hooves on the ground. Tennyson also says that no one argued the decision to send them to fight he says that “someone had blundered” but still did not challenge the decision this therefore shows that they have respect for there senior offices and believed that it was their honour and glory to die for there country.
When the soldiers were attacked in “Dulce et Decorum Est” they fled for their lives where as in “Charge of the light Brigade” they still rode ahead to fight. The use of repetition ” Canon on the right of them, Canon to the left of them, Canon in front of them” shows that the men had no where to go and most of them new that they would not be coming back but still went ahead. Unlike “Dulce et Decorum Est” the men where organised and knew exactly what to do and when. This shows courage and bravery. In the poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” it focuses on the imagery of war and Owen uses similes to show the unpleasant imagery of war.
“As under a green sea, I saw him drowning” This shows that the amount of gas is drowning the soldier as if he was in the sea. Owen gives us a graphic piece of imagery showing a soldier dying a slow and painful death. “White eyes writhing in his face”. This shows that he could only see the whites of his eyes which means he was either dead or in extreme pain. The word writhing shows how much pain the soldier is in because Owen could have used the word painful but instead he tries to make the reader understand the amount of pain the soldier is in.
“Charge of the light brigade” focuses on the number of soldiers and also the number that died “Not the six hundred” This shows that there no longer “six hundred men” because many of them had died and there are only a few left. Tennyson also mentions The Six Hundred at the end of every stanza to make the reader remember the phrase. Tennyson also uses metaphors to show the horror of war. In both stanzas 1 and 2 he mentions “The valley of death”, and in stanza 3 he says both “Jaws of death” and “Mouth of hell”.
By saying the “The valley of death” it suggest that the soldiers have no chance of surviving. This also makes the soldier look more noble and brave to the reader. Tennyson also states how many soldier died. “Then they rode back, but not, not the six hundred”. He repeats the word “not” to show how many of the soldiers died in the battle. Instead of focusing on the dead for to long he moves to how heroic the soldiers were with lines such as “When can the glory fade? ” He uses the rhetorical question to say that they should always be remembered for their bravery.
He has personified “death” and “hell” to help emphasis their ongoing battle with the devil. To help show how they do not want to give up even though they are fighting a losing battle. The Gas attack makes all the men feel guilty because they cannot save their companion from a slow and painful death. “As a green sea, I saw him drowning, in all my dreams, before my helpless eyes”. The word “helpless” help to show how the fellow soldiers couldn’t do anything to help. Owen changes to the past tense to show that his nightmares are just as real as when they actually happened.
“We cursed through sludge”, makes his audience imagine how hard and tiring it is to walk yet alone fight in a war. Owen uses metaphors to help you imagine the horrific sights of war. “Under a green sea, I saw him drowning. ” This makes the reader imagine the “Green gas” covering the soldier and also making his insides drown. There was no cure for the “green gas. ” Then he describes the gas as, “obscene as cancer” he makes this comparison because there is also no cure for cancer this shows how bad it must have been because there is nothing worse than cancer.
In my opinion Tennyson’s and Owens’s views are different, as Tennyson gives us a distanced account of the battle because he was not personally involved in the Crimean war. Tennyson uses collective terms like “They”, “Their” and “Six hundred” because he would not have known about specific cases like Owen does. However Tennyson does try to focus on the determination of the soldiers “while horse and hero fell” although their fellow soldiers kept falling they still had the determination to fight. In Tennyson’s eyes they are all “heroes” because they have died for their country.
“Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Charge of the light brigade” differ because Owen actually took part in the war he is writing about where as Tennyson did not fight in the Crimean war. Owen seems have a negative approach to war saying there is no cure for the damage that war creates, “obscene as cancer”, and also includes sarcasm aimed at Jessie Pope and her poem “Who’s for a game” which said it was sweet and right to die for your country. Owen mocks this by saying that this is a “Lie” because he has experienced war first hand and also thinks that lots of innocent people are dying for no apparent reason.
The use a capital L in “lie” is to help emphasises what he thinks of Jessie popes poem. Overall Owen shows a very negative view on the war but on the other hand Tennyson shows a view towards war. Owens negative view is based on him actually being there where as Tennyson’s positive views are based on him not fighting during the war. Owen has specific cases of horrific injuries, death, and sickening sights. Tennyson seems to focus on the group of soldiers collectively and does not have the same first hand accounts that Owen has.
The poet that I believe more would have been Owen because of the use of his first hand cases such as the “Gas attack” and “Whites of the eyes in his head”. Where as Tennyson on speaks as a collectiveness not as individuals. This piece of coursework has helped to focus on both the bad sides and the good sides of war. It’s not the physical injuries that can harm you it’s also the mental injuries of seeing other people shot in front of your eyes. But it also shows me how brave and noble soldiers are to fight for their country. This has definitely changed my perception of war.