Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'The Soldier' Comparison

Categories: Wilfred Owen

Exploring the Poetic Representation of War in 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'The Soldier'

During the tumultuous period of the First World War, poetry emerged as a powerful medium for expressing the harrowing realities of conflict. In this essay, we will delve into two iconic poems from this era - 'Dulce et Decorum est' by Wilfred Owen and 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke. Through a comparative analysis of these works, we will unravel the unique perceptions of war presented by the poets, examining their use of form, structure, and thematic elements.

Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est'

Wilfred Owen, a soldier who experienced the horrors of war firsthand, crafted 'Dulce et Decorum est' as a scathing indictment of the glorification of war. Unlike traditional poetic forms, Owen's poem adopts an irregular and chaotic structure, mirroring his rebellious attitude towards the conflict. The fragmented paragraphs and varying stanza lengths convey the overwhelming sense of confusion and disarray that permeates the battlefield.

One of the most striking aspects of Owen's poem is the vivid imagery he employs to depict the brutal realities of war.

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Through graphic descriptions of a gas attack and its aftermath, Owen forces the reader to confront the gruesome consequences of combat. The juxtaposition of the soldiers' physical suffering with the haunting memories that linger long after the battle highlights the psychological toll of war.

Furthermore, the title 'Dulce et Decorum est,' which translates to 'It is Sweet and Right,' serves as a poignant irony that challenges the conventional notions of heroism and sacrifice.

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Owen deliberately subverts this traditional sentiment to underscore the senseless brutality of war, leaving the reader with a profound sense of disillusionment.

Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier'

In contrast to Owen's raw and visceral portrayal of war, Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier' exudes a sense of idealism and romanticism. Written before Brooke had experienced war firsthand, the poem adopts a traditional sonnet form, reflecting a more idealized view of conflict. Brooke's depiction of war as a noble and honorable endeavor stands in stark contrast to Owen's gritty realism.

Despite the stark differences in tone and structure, both Owen and Brooke convey their personal perspectives on war through their respective poems. While Owen's work is marked by its chaotic and unsettling imagery, Brooke's poem exudes a sense of reverence and admiration for the sacrifices of soldiers. The title 'The Soldier,' though seemingly unrelated to the content of the poem, hints at the overarching theme of duty and patriotism that permeates Brooke's work.

Comparative Analysis

When we compare 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'The Soldier,' we are confronted with two divergent portrayals of war - one grim and disillusioned, the other idealistic and romantic. Owen's poem serves as a stark reminder of the horrors of war, challenging the glorification of conflict and exposing its devastating impact on the human psyche. In contrast, Brooke's work celebrates the bravery and valor of soldiers, painting a more heroic and noble picture of war.

While Owen's unconventional structure and vivid imagery evoke a sense of urgency and despair, Brooke's traditional form and elevated language convey a sense of reverence and admiration. Both poets use their craft to convey powerful messages about the nature of war and its profound effects on individuals and society as a whole.


In conclusion, 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'The Soldier' offer contrasting perspectives on war, each reflecting the unique experiences and beliefs of the poets who penned them. Wilfred Owen's searing indictment of the futility and brutality of war stands in stark contrast to Rupert Brooke's romanticized portrayal of sacrifice and heroism. Through their use of form, structure, and thematic elements, both poets have created enduring works that continue to resonate with readers today, shedding light on the complex and multifaceted nature of human conflict.


Updated: Feb 15, 2024
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Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'The Soldier' Comparison. (2016, Oct 18). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/dulce-et-decorum-est-and-the-soldier-comparison-essay

Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'The Soldier' Comparison essay
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