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“The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke and “Dulce et Decorum” est by Wilfred Owen

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Although Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen both wrote war poems they differ broadly from each other. Despite the fact that both authors’ have a totally different opinion concerning war they have certain aspects in common.

In Rupert Brooke’s poem The Soldier he develops a glorifying idea of patriotism. He seeks to transmit the message that it is beautiful to die for one’s country – it embellishes death – and that no matter where he is buried the soil he is buried within will absorb his English body, acquire English ways and become in its turn, part of England. Brooke had never taken part in war itself therefore he could not comprehend the genuine vileness of war. He conveys no notion of sorrow or loss at the suggestion of the soldier’s death. It seems that the soldier does not even fear death; it is more likely that he is more concentrated on the importance of the idea that even through death he will continue to be English.

All through The Soldier Brooke communicates a feeling of bravery, nobility and heroism. It reveals this through flurry and idealistic language – “Wash’d by the rivers, blest by the suns of home” – transforming it into a dramatic reading due to its frequent pauses in the middle of sentences with the use of punctuation – “If I should die, think only this of me:” , “A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,”. This poem makes use of hazy and attractive images using romantic and vague language such as “That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is forever England. There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust conceal’d;”. England is widely mentioned throughout The Soldier by means of personification. It turns England into the soldier’s mother, this he achieved with the use of terms that only a mother would use toward her child – “A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,” It gives the idea that England would grieve the soldier’s death as a mother would.

The narrator is a soldier and is also the speaker. He talks in the first person, is present in the poem and there is no addressee other than the reader. Its rhyme scheme denounces it as a sonnet – ABABCDCD EFG EFG. Its tone is soft, proud and emotional.

In Dulce et Decorum est Wilfred Owen makes use of a cynical title which is a Latin quotation signifying, “It is a sweet and fitting thing to die for one’s country”. His poem only turns this sentence to mere mockery and illusion – “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”. He attempts to demonstrate the true horror of war using personal experiences lived in the Great War. He achieves this with the use of harsh and shocking language and concrete imagery – “Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud” “We cursed through the sludge”. He uses similes to give the reader a harsh yet realistic image of the soldiers’ conditions – ” Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags…” “As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.”.

Obviously Owen detested the war and demonstrates clearly his feelings of anger and hatred towards it. As few people have witnessed a gas attack Owen uses comparisons to truly describe the true panic, agony that takes place during one. His diction is no less gruesome nor disturbing – “And floundering like a man on fire or lime. -” “As under a green sea, I saw him drowning” He also uses terribly brutal words sparing us none of the horror, words such as “cursed”, “sludge”, “blood-shod”. The fact that the soldiers have also lost their boots and seem unaffected and unafraid of the falling shells behind them demonstrates the genuine state in which the men are walking. They are tired, exhausted, they have lost all hope and faith and seemed to have surrendered to their inevitable fate.

Similarly to Brooke, Owen’s narrator and speaker is also a soldier and speaks in the first person. The rhyming scheme alters slightly though – ABABCDCD EFEFGE GE HIHIJKLMNONO. The poem is longer than The Soldier and its tone is harsh, angry and somewhat bitter.

Both these poems develop different sentiments toward the war. They are formed by two different perspectives developed by one whom has no experience whatsoever in being a soldier contrasting with one who has. This commentary link to various areas of interaction such as Approaches to Learning by using coherent and critical independent thought, Community service by creating an interest in today’s world and Homo Faber because I created this commentary.

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