Miscellaneous / Compare &Amp; Contrast The Portrayal Of War In Dulce Et Decorum Est &Amp; Charge Of The Light Brigade.
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Autor: anton 27 December 2010
Words: 2268 | Pages: 10
Tennyson's Charge of The Light Brigade and Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est both explore warfare. However they each have significant differences. Charge Of The Light Brigade was written in the 18th Century and is about the Crimean War. It explains, in a very majestic manner, that fighting in a war is something every soldier should be extremely proud of. Sacrifices have to be made and bravery is an absolute necessity. Tennyson ignores the darkness and slaughter of war by emphasising the courage and loyalty that the soldiers have for their country. They do not show fear, even when they are attacked with weapons much greater and deadlier than their own. Dulce Et Decorum Est was written in the 20th Century. It depicts war, in this case WW1, an exact opposite to Charge Of The Light Brigade. Owen wants to dispel the lie that describes war as a place of pride and brightness, when in reality it is a place of bloodshed and obscurity. Owen knows first hand the devastation of combatting in war because he experienced it himself; therefore he ridicules the renowned title Ð’â€˜Dulce Et Decorum Est', which means Ð’â€˜it is sweet and fitting' by recounting the horrifying scenes that he has unfortunately witnessed, and consequently leads his poem to a clever conclusion involving the Latin phrase.
Ducle Et Decorum Est opens with a very striking line, Ð’â€˜Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,' and although we do not know what or who is being compared to this unpleasant description, it is already clear that this poem is not going to praise war but harshly criticise it. The next line, Ð’â€˜Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,' again draws a terrifying picture in our minds. We are still unsure of what the poem is actually referring to at this point, however the portrayal of the scene creates a mood of apprehension and sets a gloomy feel to the poem. Ð’â€˜Towards our distance rest, began to trudge.' This line is rather intriguing, as, at first analysis it seems as if the unknown characters are slowly journeying towards their destination where they will finally be able to relax, however if you read more into the line then you notice that this Ð’â€˜distant rest' that the author is referring to could actually mean their death beds, where they can rest in peace forever more. Owen reveals how Ð’â€˜Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, but limped on, blood-shod.' These short, simple yet exceptionally expressive sentences add to the feeling of exhaustion that the characters obviously feel and the assonance within them is particularly effective as it accentuates the horror of the situation. They are yearning to rest but they carry on even when they are wounded and have nothing on their tired feet. They are Ð’â€˜Drunk with fatigue' this is an interesting phrase to use, as it is perfect to illustrate that there is a subtle line between drunkenness and tiredness. It gives the idea that those who the poem is talking about are so shattered that they are stumbling and falling around, just like you would if you where under the impression of alcohol. The next line uses enjambment to keep the readers in suspense as to what is actually happening. Then, at last we learn that the men are Ð’â€˜deaf even to the hoots/of gas-shells dropping softly behind.' As soon as this is read it is clear that these people are involved in a war. The shells are clarified as being Ð’â€˜soft' which is peculiar as it is evident that bombs are noisy, menacing and brutal, however this enhances the fact that the men are Ð’â€˜deaf even to the hoots'. This first verse was written in a deliberately slow manner, this is so the readers can contemplate the idea of war being draining and ghastly, in contrast to Charge Of The Light Brigade. The second verse starts abruptly, Ð’â€˜Gas! Gas! Quick boys! Ð’â€“ An ecstasy of fumbling,' this is so readers are alert to what is happening in the poem and they are drawn in to the situation as if they were actually there. Owen writes in a way that makes apparent to the readers that, even though the soldiers are weak, injured and bootless, they still have to act fast if they want to save their own precious lives. Ð’â€˜Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time.' This sentence adds to the frenzy of fumbling that the soldiers got themselves into when they heard the dreaded warning. They didn't have time to do things properly as their helmets where fixed on their heads in a Ð’â€˜clumsy' way. The rest of the second verse is a very disturbing account of what Wilfred Owen saw after the gas bombs had been dropped. He reports how Ð’â€˜Someone still was yelling out and stumbling/and floundering like a man in fire or lime.' Instantaneously, we know that something bad has happened to one of Owens fellow soldiers. He carries on by telling us, Ð’â€˜dim through misty panes and thick green light/as under a green sea, I saw him drowning.' From this explanation, it is fairly understandable that the Ð’â€˜thick green light' is the poisonous cloud coming from the gas bomb. Owen explicitly describes the situation. He cleverly compares the unfortunate soldiers suffocation to drowning under a green sea. Owen states that his eyes were fixated on this horrendous sight, yet he was unable to help this dying man, Ð’â€˜before my helpless sight,/he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.' The repetition of the active verbs heightens the dreadfulness of the incident. Wilfred Owen speaks in 1st person throughout this poem, to elucidate the fact that he knows what he is talking about. Owen carries on, asking you to share the experience, Ð’â€˜If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace/behind the wagon that we flung him in.' The person that was flung into the wagon is the ill-fated victim of the gas attack. The author now begins to tell us of the awfulness of what happens to soldiers who die at war, Ð’â€˜and watch the white eyes writhing in his face,/his hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin.' Readers are about to hear another vivid depiction of what goes on at war. Owen intensely expresses the appearance of the dead body in a way, which is grim and distressing. Even including that the devil, who is regarded as the most evil creature in the world, is sick of wars' appalling aspects. More dramatic images follow, Ð’â€˜obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud/of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues.' Owen knows he has to represent the traits of war in such a shocking style so people learn the true veracity war. After the series of emotionally frightening events, Owen brings his poem to an intellectual end. He forges a brotherly bond with us when he addresses us as Ð’â€˜my friend', and then exemplifies how we betrayed him because we have told Ð’â€˜with such high zest/to children ardent for some desperate glory/the old lie: Dulce Et Decorum Est, Pro Patria Mori'. Pro Patria Mori translates into Ð’â€˜to die for your country' so we are know fully aware of what the Latin phrase means, and we also realise how contradictory it is to Wilfred's account of war. Wilfred explains through his poem that it is wrong for elders to create a false impression of war with such enthusiasm, to naÐ“Ð‡ve children who will no doubt, be the ones to fight if there was another war. Throughout his account, Owen tries to justify his hatred of the false impression of war by asking the readers to imagine what it would be like to view such a repugnant event, and the words that he uses creates a sinister, dire atmosphere.
Charge Of The Light Brigade is a narrative poem with six regular verses and a strong rhyming scheme. This is in contrast to Dulce Et Decorum Est, which holds three stanzas and is more reflective in tone. Charge Of The Light Brigade opens with, Ð’â€˜half a league, half a league/half a league onward,' this repetition creates a steady rhythm, which echoes the sound of a horses gallop. Tennyson explains Ð’â€˜All in the valley of death/rode the six hundred.' This statement makes clear that there was six hundred men in all, and they rode their horses into the Ð’â€˜valley of death' without a second thought, thus giving the impression of bravery and courage. This sense of fearlessness is emphasised by the order, Ð’â€˜"Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!"' It is irrelevant who the person commanding is because these heroic soldiers are resolute and fearless and as soon as they hear the words of advance, they will do it without a second thought and journey in to the Ð’â€˜valley of death'. We now realise what is happening. The metaphor used highlights the danger that awaits these men and the fact that they are galloping towards it shows how enduring and brave they are. The second stanza opens with more commands ordering the soldiers to advance. The author then asks a rhetorical question, Ð’â€˜was there a man dismay'd?' this draws the readers into the poem even more as they have been asked a question which they have no time to answer due to the fast, exciting pace of the poem. The opening of the third stanza retells us that there is a Ð’â€˜Cannon to right of them/Cannon to left of them/Cannon in front of them'. The repetition adds to the rhythm that was created in the first stanza and accentuates the fast gallop that carried the soldiers into the Ð’â€˜valley of death'. It also stresses the serious danger that surrounds them. They were Ð’â€˜volley'd and thunder'd;/storm'd at with shot and shell.' These strong verbs suggest that these bold men were facing deadly circumstances, yet they carried on fighting valiantly. The men rode Ð’â€˜Into the jaws of death,/into the mouth of hell.' as well as enjambment, which is effective as it keeps the readers on tenterhooks, Tennyson has used personification to portray the horridness of what the soldiers where nobly facing. In the fourth stanza, Lord Tennyson expresses a number of intrepid events that are happening around the Ð’â€˜Light Brigade', Ð’â€˜plunged in the battery-smoke'. He then goes on to explain how other the brigade, even with a drastically smaller army, still managed to triumph over Ð’â€˜Cossack and Russian'. The Ð’â€˜six hundred' continued to do their country proud, but Ð’â€˜then they rode back, but not/not the six hundred.' Again, the sturdy galloping beat is repeated and integrated back in to the poem at the start of the fifth canto. Tennyson inform us that, Ð’â€˜While horse and hero fell/they that had fought so well' here, he is referring to them as heroes as they have shown nothing but valour throughout their ordeal. The next lines, Ð’â€˜back from the mouth of hell,/all that was left of them/left of six hundred.' makes apparent that, unfortunately there was not many survivors of the Crimean war. The sixth and closing verse of Charge Of The Light Brigade concludes that the soldiers of the Ð’â€˜Light Brigade' were majestic and honourable in the way they fought for their country, and should therefore be noted in history. A rhetorical question is asked, Ð’â€˜When can their glory fade?' Tennyson asks this enquiry with the belief that their glory will never diminish; their gallant efforts will never be forgotten. The last verse is an oratory to their heroism, Ð’â€˜Honour the charge they made,/honour the Light Brigade/Noble six hundred.' Alfred Lord Tennyson terminates his dramatic poem with a type of order to the readers. He tells them to respect the Ð’â€˜Light Brigade', as they did us proud. He describes them as noble, which gives the notion that Tennyson's attitude to war is completely the opposite of Owens.
I have found that both poems have an equally captivating argument to the side that they are on regarding war and every aspect of it. I enjoyed reading Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est as it gives a remarkable viewpoint to the way war is wrongly perceived. Owen has an outstanding gift to be able to express his thoughts and feelings into a comparatively short poem, which can only be made stronger due to the fact that he actually witnessed the effects of WW1 first hand. He ingeniously contradicts a famous Latin proverb that basically supports soldiers dying in wars by forthrightly recounting the events that steered him to be so biased against the fact that people are taught a dishonest portrayal of war. Charge Of The Light Brigade was similarly interesting to read, as it gave a total different version of the qualities of combat. Tennyson was capable of excluding the carnage and fatigue of battle by laying great emphasis on the courage and heroism of the battling soldiers. There are a lot of noticeable differences between these two prominent pieces of poetry, and they are both respected for the side of which they support. However, I agree more with Wilfred Owen's account of war because as we know with hindsight, war is a terrible, destructive matter, which should be very much avoided. In spite of this I strongly believe that the men and women who enlist for armed forces are tremendously brave and I hold the highest admiration for these daring individuals. Lastly, both these examples of poignant poetry continue to seize a recognised place in history. They are written by two of the world's most talented poets and even though their explanations of war may be exceedingly different, they are still considered two pieces of brilliantly unmatched poetry.
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