Owen Vs. Metallica Essay, Research Paper
Owen and Metallica: Worlds Apart but Message The Same
For my paper, I chose to compare and contrast Wilfred Owen s poem, “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and Metallica s song “One.” Although Owen died before the members of Metallica were even born, they both share the same message in these two poems. That message is a simple but important one: War isn t glorious; it s dirty and vicious. They go about getting the point across very differently, but that doesn t take away from the similarities that they share.
Owen was a twenty year old when he was fighting in World War I. He was twice wounded in battle and he wrote his poems, not to be a good poet, but instead to show the world war through his eyes. His poems opened the eyes indeed; the violence depicted in his poems shocked the public to attention. It wasn t till after his death in battle that most of his poems were published, along with his book of poems, “Lives of the Poets.”
Metallica is a rock group made up of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Jason Newsted. This song was written in regards to the Vietnam War, or should I say in protest of it. It uses metaphysical conceits to address the mental anguish a Vietnam Veteran is experiencing after coming home from the war: injuries and all. This was Metallica s first “big” hit in rock music.
In Owen s poem it starts with a scene of some soldiers who are on their way back to camp after being on the front for who knows how long. “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks.” He describes the young boys as old beggars to show how the war had prematurely aged them to adulthood. As they are marching away from the battle field, away from the fight, they are beaten and bloody; some even walk on a stub, because they have lost a foot. “Drunk with fatigue;” the soldiers were so tired they couldn t even walk straight, they walked like drunkards. Then out of seemingly nowhere they were fired upon, but not with bullets, with gas: mustard gas most likely. As Owen watches, “though the misty panes and thick green light,” a friend, a comrade of his drowns in the gas, and there is nothing that he can do.
Owen goes on to describe how the boy looks on the wagon as they march behind it watching as the boy coughing up his own blood, “with every jolt” of the wagon. Then Owen sums up this story with a moral: “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.” The “old lie” is a quote used by Owen from the Latin poet Horace, meaning; “It is a sweet and fitting thing to die for one s country.”
Metallica doesn t have any real warfront stories, but instead they have the creative ability to paint a picture in song of what is going on in the mind of a Vietnam Veteran. They use the line, “Now that the war is through with me.” this illustrates just how used the veteran is. It doesn t say “now that I m done with the war,” instead it gives the war the control, not the armies or the countries in it. I think this is such a true statement. Once a war has begun it takes control, it takes control of the economy, the government, and the soldiers fighting in it. Over and over again the veteran cries out to God for help. This plainly shows how much agony the vet is really in. Too many times in real life, I personnally make the mistake of only going to God when we have tried everything else and it has all failed; this line depicts the torture that the veteran is going through. For him to call out to God, the pain he was going through must have been very severe.
This veteran is clearly only living because of the life-support system that he is hooked to, “fed through the tube that sticks in me.” But in the same stanza, he asks for someone to “cut this life off from me.” The war has taken all he has except his life. How cruel is that? He is depressed and suicidal. Metallica wrote this song, I believe, to shock the public to attention, just like Owen did his. Their message? The same as Owen s as well, to stop the foolish belief that dying for one s country is noble and glorious.
Both of these pieces used such tones as metaphors and similes. Owen s metrical structure was an ababcdcd structure, while Metallica used a very loose aaaa,bbbb structure. Both structure are very effective in letting the me have a certain pattern of thought. The structure allowed me to focus on the subject of the poem while I was reading/listening.
Owen s War Poetry was probably more effective than Metallica s song, not because of the content or the message. In Metallica s song, the loud, hard-pounding music distracts the listener from the true intent of the lyrics. At the same time, I believe that both were very essential and relevant to the cause.