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Poetry Is A Powerful Form Of Expression English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 902 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Rupert Brooke’s poem “The Soldier” is an example of a pro-war and patriotically written poem, typical at the start of World War One; Rupert Brook did not even see combat in World war one as he died on his to Gallipoli. The poem was written to entice people to go to war for England and to die for your country; as that was the attitude towards war at the time. The poem incites patriotism by personifying England; for example he refers to England as “her” in “her sights and sounds, dreams as happy as day”. In lines 1-3 of the poem state that if the unnamed character in the poem were to die at war, think of it as that part is forever England as he belongs to England and as he died, that land is forever England; lines three to four state that the ground that he has died on is now better as it has a part of England in it this is another example of patriotism. The next lines “and think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less” says that all of the evil in his heart should be washed away because he died for his country, suggesting as he has died for his country, his evil deeds are gone. The final lines in the poem say that he will be at peace in an English heaven with laughter, gentleness and with friends. The main ideas of this poem is to silence the brutality of war and horrors of war and to try to make the meaning of death more rich, to die for ones country; patriotism.

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In contrast, the next two poems, both written by Wilfred Owen, “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and “Anthem For Doomed Youth”, detail the horrors of war later in the war the horrors of the trenches were known. Wilfred Owen was a captain in the British army and saw the war firsthand. He wrote poems about his deadly experiences and opinions on world war one. This is in contrast to Rupert Brooke who did not see combat. Wilfred Owen wished to disassociate war with honour and patriotism that it was given by the media at the time. In “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, when the reader first reads the title of the poem, patriotism is expected, as “Dulce Et Decorum Est” is part of the sentence “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” which translated means “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”, however once read the poem has an entirely different feeling; the poem describes the soldiers as being bent over like beggars and coughing like hags, and puts them slog through trenches which are filled with mud. In the poem, Wilfred Owen details what happens to a poor soldier who dies agonizingly from a gas attack. He uses techniques such as the simile in “and watch the white eyes writhing in his face, his hanging face, Like a devils sick of sin”, the gas is also described as “misty panes and thick green light, as if under a deep sea I saw him drowning”. He then further explains the effect of the gas by comparing it to cancer and vomit, and how it causes incurable sores on innocent people; “Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud, of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues”. At the end of the poem, Wilfred Owen then states “My friend,… The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” He says this as he is addressing the stay at home war enthusiasts; the poem was addressed to Jessie Pope, who wrote “Who’s for the game” which was written to encourage people to go to war by comparing it to a game. He then states in the poem that “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” is a lie as war has changed as the circumstances have changed.

In Wilfred Owen’s poem “Anthem for doomed youth” he compares religious ceremonies like funerals and death in war; specifically how young men are dieing on the battlefield in horrible conditions without proper burial. He does this as lots of young men were dieing in the battlefield proper burials, resting in shallow graves, with no-one to commemorate their deaths. Wilfred Owen compares the church bells of a funeral to the chatter of guns, prayers to rifle fire and church choirs to wailing shells. Wilfred Owen in addition compares the deaths of the soldiers to cattle in a slaughterhouse: “What passing bells for these who die as cattle”. Alliteration and onomatopoeia are also used “Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle can patter out their hasty orisons (prayers)”, the words stuttering and rattle and patter are used as they have a similar staccato to that of rifles firing.

In Wilfred Owen’s poems, he obviously conveys sorrow and pain in his poems with descriptive imagery. In Dulce et Decorum Est he details the horrors of a gas attack and how the sentence “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” is not relevant anymore as the most honourable men do not survive anymore and they can be killed from far away with no honour. And his other poem, Anthem for Doomed Youth he states that the soldiers are dying like cattle and the only consolation they get is from their comrades as they die, whilst hearing the wailing of shells. This is contrasted with Rupert Brooke’s poem “The Soldier” in which Rupert brooke emphasises how it is good to die for your country and honourable.


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