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The poems I have chosen to compare in this essay are Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ and Jessie Pope’s ‘Who’s for The Game?’. The two poems I have chosen to compare are both about the first world war. Yet the two poems have very different opinions on the Great War. The first poem, ‘ Dulce et decorum est’, is against the war and the injustice of it all. It is narrated by one of the soldiers who is fighting in the Great War and having to face the horrors of war.
On the contrary my second poem, ‘Who’s for the game?’, is a recruitment and propaganda poem. Therefore, I will be comparing both these poems to analyse the similarities and differences on their opinion of war.
‘Dulce et Decorum est,’ is poem that is set out in several blocks and the lines are long. However, the poet adds some short sentences such as: ‘gas! GAS! Quick boys!’ Owen adds these short sentences to capture the reader’s attention.
The layout of this poem creates a more serious atmosphere. In comparison to the first poem the second poem,’ Who’s for the game?’ by Jessie Pope is set out in short blocks unlike Owen’s poem. Pope uses short sentences throughout her poem, for example: ‘Who’ll give his country a hand’ The poet uses these short sentences to make the poem more noticeable. This layout Pope uses creates a more pleasant atmosphere.
The Rhyming scheme of Owen’s poem is ABAB CDCD, this rhyming scheme that the poet uses helps us not to forget the images Owen delivers to us.
The pace of the poem is slow and we can see how important it is for the poem to be read slowly in the following quote: ‘The blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,’ In this quote we get a lot of description, in a sentence like this you need to read the poem carefully because Owen wants us to think about every word he has written so we can truly imagine the horrible scene he is describing.
Similarly Pope’s poem uses the same rhyming scheme however it has a different effect on the poem, as shown in the following quote: ‘For there’s only one course to pursue, Your country is up to her neck in a fight, And she’s looking and calling for you.’ This use of poetic technique makes the poem easier to read. Therefore, makes the poem more appreciable. The pace of the poem is fast because it makes the poem sound carefree, fun and enjoyable.
In Wilfred Owen’s poem,’ Dulce et decorum est’ Owen gives us many comparisons to describe the war. One striking comparison Owen uses is: ‘His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin’ This is a very strong comparison as it shows even a creature who is surrounded by death knows that the painful deaths that the soldiers in the war were outrageously horrible. In addition, another crucial comparison is:’ like beggars under sacks, ‘ Here Owen is comparing the soldiers to beggars, this comparison is shocking because we normally think that soldiers are normally seen to be courageous, proud and strong.
However, Owen gives us the image that the men who are fighting in the war have been stripped of all their dignity and are now nothing but men begging for all the fighting to stop. On the other hand, whilst Owen’s poem speaks about the war very seriously, Pope’s poem compares the Great War to a game:’ who wants to turn himself in the show and who wants a seat in the stand,’ The way in which Jessie Pope compares her poem makes the war seem like a school sport, and make the war seem like something completely harmless and all fun and games. Both the poems which I have chosen contain very strong language.
In the first poem Owen uses a lot of striking words such as:’ blood-shod,’ this word tells us that the only protection the soldiers had under their feet was their own blood. This grim ‘joke’ is shocking as it is one of the most horrible descriptions of the terrible conditions that the men were in. Another one of the striking words Owen uses is: ‘drunk with fatigue.’ When you think of the word drunk’ we think of someone who can’t stand up straight, can’t think properly and by using this word within the context, we can imagine the men barely able to realize what is going on around them.
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