War Poetry

– "Dulce Et Decorum Est" Essay, Research Paper

??????????? During World War I many poets

published their poems to encourage people to enlist in the army. Special spaces

were left in newspapers for recruiting poems; these poems and other areas of

social life pressured young men into joining the army! Poems such as "Fall In" by Harold Begbie

were designed to guilt soldiers into recruiting. He tries to make them feel bad

in verse one by telling them that the girls will ignore them if they don’t sign

up, "with a girl who cuts you dead." In verse two he describes how

their children won’t respect them when they find out they didn?t fight in the

war! Other poems like this are, "The

Two Mothers" by Matilda Betham – Edwards and "Who’s for the Game?" by Jesse Pope. ??????????? Wilfred Owen was abroad teaching in

France when the war broke out in 1914. Here he wrote a war poem called, "Ballad of Peace and War",

this poem contrasted strongly with his later work! Owen was extremely keen to

be a soldier so he returned to England to enlist. He became an officer and in

1916 he was sent to the Somme in France. He took part in the attacks on the

German Hindenbourg Line near St. Quentin. However he was forced to return to

England when he became shell-shocked after a shell exploded beside him! Owen

returned to England with a changed attitude to the war. ??????????? "Dulce

et Decorum Est" contrasts intensely with the poems mentioned. Poems

such as "Fall In", "The

Two Mothers", "Who’s for the Game?" and "Recruting" only have one motive, they are created to encourage

people to enrol in the armed forces. Whereas Owen wrote "Dulce et Decorum Est " in order to inform people about

the terror, anguish and torment which was experienced during the war. The

recruiting poems make the war seem like a game and that you would be missing

out on a big opportunity if u don’t go, when really you would be better off

safe at home! Verse One ??????????? Verse one describes how the soldiers

are returning to base camp. Owen uses a slow halting rhythm to suggest how much

pain and misery the soldiers are encountering and to imitate how slow are

walking. He does this by using punctuation. Verse one tells us a lot about the

condition, both physically and mentally, of the men and it gives us an idea of

the appalling conditions! He portrays this by his use of similes, metaphors and

vocabulary. He uses similes such as, "Bent

double, like hags"; this simile illustrates how many of the men fall

ill! Owen also uses metaphors such as, "Drunk

with fatigue", to display how tired the infantrymen are, this metaphor

leads us to believe that the men are so tired that they are unaware what is

happening around them! The poet’s choice of vocabulary in verse one is very

effective in communicating the message of fatigue. He uses words such as sludge,

trudge, and haunting to describe the harsh conditions of the

battlefield. Verse Two ??????????? The rhythm in verse two suddenly

increases, this displays the soldiers panic during the gas attack! Punctuation

is used to create this faster rhythm, exclamation marks and short sentences

suddenly speed up the pace and create excitement! This gives the reader an

image of the weary soldiers suddenly changing into panic-stricken men! It means

that the reader feels that they are involved in what is happening! "Gas! Gas! Quick boys!"

direct speech is used to create panic. Owen also uses vocabulary such as stumbling,

floundering, and fumbling to describe the desperate actions of the

dying man. The verbs such as yelling and drowning give the reader a feeling of

chaos! The simile, "like a man on

fire" is used to describe the agony, which the man is encountering, it

suggests how the man is writing and twisting in desperation as the gas burns

him! "As under a green sea, I saw

him drowning", this describes how the gas causes a thick green misty

haze around the men. This is a useful phrase as it enables us to visualise what

is happening and use our imagination, it also gives us a sense of how unreal it

all is! Owens guilt is suggested in the line, "In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning".

The fact that he dreams about this all the time, and that the man is plunging

at him in particular means that he feels guilty for this mans death! He was

obviously traumatised by this ordeal! Final Verse -Verse 3 ????????? The purpose of the final verse is to describe the

tragedy of war and how it is not a

sweet and fitting thing to die for your country, it is a desperate and

agonising way to die! He is trying to discourage people from the war by

informing the readers what it is really like. Owen uses adjectives such as flung,

hanging, vile and incurable to give his readers a detailed description

of what these horrors are like! "Behind

the wagon that we flung him in," the word flung is used as it gives

us the impression that the other soldiers had absolutely no respect for their

companion and they treated the roughly! The poet uses onomatopoeia in this

verse to communicate the actions of the dying man, "Come gargling

from his froth corrupted lungs". Similes such as, "his hanging face, like a devil’s sick of

sin", this portrays how the man was desperate and giving up his fight

for life! "Obscene as cancer",

this simile is used to describe the sores on the men’s tongues, most people

appreciate how serious cancer is therefore they would imagine that if something

is compared to it then they would believe that they are awful! Verse

three is a very dramatic monologue and it is directed at people who think it is

a "sweet and fitting thing to die

for ones country!" Owen is trying to put people off the war in this

verse! Alfred

Lord Tennyson’s poem "Charge of the Light Brigade", describes war in

a positive and heroic way, he says, "War is a heroic struggle".

Whereas Wilfred Owen portrays it in an extremely negative way, in "Dulce

et Decorum Est". Lord Tennyson writes about the "brave soldier’s

actions" this gives the reader the impression that it is a good thing to

fight in the war and that the men who are fighting are proud that they have got

the opportunity to serve their country! This is completely different to the

horrors that Owen communicates through his poetry! The two poems contrast

completely and have very different effects on the reader! The writers use the

same poetic methods but for different purposes. Tennyson uses poetic methods to

evoke the bravery of the men. Owen uses poetic methods to state and to describe

the terrible conditions during the war. Both writers use visual images, in

"The Charge of the Light Brigade", Alfred Lord Tennyson uses this

method to dramatise to battle scene. In "Dulce et Decorum Est",

Wilfred Owen uses it to portray the dreadful scenes of war, "haunting flares",

"blood-shod", "white eyes writhing" and "incurable

sores". Tennyson uses sibilant alliteration to quicken the rhythm

during the battle in order to recreate the drama of the battle. Owen uses

plosive alliteration to evoke an angry tone in verse three, "My friend, you would not tell with

such high zest, To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce

et decorum est Pro patria mori." This verse is directed at the

authority figures! In the "Charge of the Light Brigade" onomatoepia

is used to communicate the bravery of the soldiers and to recreate the sounds

on the battlefield, "thunder’d"

and "stormed at by shot and shell". Owen uses onomatoepia to

describe the death of the soldier in the last verse, "Gargling from froth-corrupted lungs". ??????????? My favourite out of the two poems

has to be Wilfred Owen’s, "Dulce et Decorum Est", mainly because it

is more realistic about what I would have imagined the war to be like! It is

the more emotional poem of the two as it is filled with the writer’s own

thoughts, fears and feelings. I think it is a wonderful piece of work and

enjoyed studying it in depth!By

Lynne Reilly 11W? ??????????? ??????????? ?? ???????????


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