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Dulce Et Decorum Est and Flanders Field: Comparison and Interpretation

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This is my comparison and interpretation on these two exceptional poems. Dulce Et decorum Est is a renowned poem in English literature, composed by Wilfred Owen a soldier in service, who lived the nightmares in this poem in world war one. This depiction aids you in envisioning the gory bloodshed – the consequences of the gas attack. This poem describes the gas attack in the trench whilst presenting the undeniable truth about war in its full glory. While, Flanders Field is contrasting to the before poem, this poem is an embodiment of symbolism and irony. It is an eminent piece of poetry, by John McRae- a major who also suffered the horrors of the Great War. The poem refers to a huge field – the area where many war casualties are buried; the earth where they lay, grow a whole selection of poppies which are now the symbol of Remembrance Day. Dulce has been composed with a lot of obscured meanings: but, the main message sent to the readers is the reflection of the cruel reality that the war contains.

The poem comprises of three stanzas: beginning with a description of the landscape where it is describing the exhausted soldiers and their helpless plight in minute details, making you feel empathy for them. The second stanza emphasizes the tension, the instincts, and the adrenaline build-up in that unanticipated gas attack. In spite of the joint efforts that one soldier clumsily dropped his gas mask resulting in him, living that fear of death with a macabre, stagnant end. The last stanza emphasizes the consequences of that grisly gas assault with an ending flourish from a few lines from Horace’s Odes proven false. These lines were: Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori – it is sweet and noble to die for your country. In this poem, there are many devices, which make this piece very different and effective. This poem has a selection of similes like devil’s sick of sin which makes you understand how horrid a sight it might be, as devils are almost never sick of sin. It has been written in a sneering manner, as he is passionate about his belief and seems to have put in feelings of fury and disgust when composing.

It has a negative view on war as it is trying to shed some light on the harsh reality of war; as we only are given knowledge which has been glorified time and time again; whilst the factual, emotional and physical truth is hidden from us. Though, it has been told using a very high standard of English, it is a piece that can still be understood by a lay man and enjoyed thoroughly as well. Dulce has flipped from first and third person throughout the poem making it easier for him to aid us in visualizing the war scene at the time of this attack. When you look at my chosen poems in scrutinized detail, it is easy to pick out those similarities that are written below. Both poets have made their poems akin to each other unknowingly by using a few grammar devices to give more depth to their respective poem. First, they have picked certain words, juggled them around and compiled lines full of meaning; for example: poppies blow- the poppies born from the blood and sweat of the soldiers, blow through the winds telling us this poem.

They used strong vocabulary, which emphasizes the theme they have chosen – War and Death; for example: smothering dreams- the feelings of suffocated nightmares trying to suffocate him as he sleeps. They have both used an abundant amount of metaphors, like: green sea- from the heat, the eye lenses misted up and since they could only see the gas as it engulfed everything in his vision. Flanders field is a thoughtful piece which is interpreted by many people in various ways. The poem is an embodiment of symbolism and irony, which you will discover as you unravel the meanings within each line. The poppies mentioned are born from the blood and sweat of the soldiers and are trying to convey the last emotions the soldiers, under the earth, felt and are trying to deliver to us. The larks, are shown as the soldiers reborn, still are bravely singing and are rejoicing for their pending duty has been fulfilled. In the first stanza, the poem is setting the tone. There is a contrast of bleak yet not gloomy tone.

The bleak is stated with the crosses lined row on row, and the lighter tone to the poem is stated with the mentioning of larks singing. The word in line three in the poem was referring to the graves or crosses in Flanders field. In the second stanza, it is most evident that the speaker in the stanza is the dead. This is known from the very first line of the stanza stating “We are the dead.” The dead can also be the recently killed or dead soldiers. In the line “Loved and were loved,” and “now we lie,” the dead are explaining to the reader that they had experienced some of the most needed human emotions during their life. Now for these people are dead, they will be unable to experience the emotions making their “souls” feel miserable. The last stanza’s tone is utterly different from the likes of the first two. It is very bold and powerful as if the speaker was a general talking to his inferior comrades. The symbolic meaning of the torch is that to take away any thoughts of weakness and vengeance for the fellow dead members of your army.

They are the dead’s last hope in retaliating against those who did injustice to them on the battlefield. In the last stanza, the words used are very powerful for it is mainly talking about dedication. In this poem, there are many devices which make this piece very different and effective. The poet has repeated the word Flanders field – as that is the chosen subject and the key item which is featured in each and every line whether or not it is the main focus of the line or not. It has maintained the first person throughout the whole poem so we feel as if the poem is actually interacting with us. He has composed a short poem, explaining it with a lot of meaning and emotions making the reader feel pity for those dead soldiers. He has used simple language making young readers to have the opportunity to understand each word and enjoy it thoroughly. In my opinion, I feel that both poems deserve their given high-esteem as both of them are enhanced poems which both have their many positives making them first-rate compositions compared to the other war poems out there.

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