Comparing War in the Poems, Dulce et Decorum est and Who’s for the Game?

Comparing War in the Poems, Dulce et Decorum est and Who’s for the Game?

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The two poems, 'Dulce et decorum est' and 'Who's for the game?' are both very different war poems. Although they were both written about the First World War, they both had different purposes. The poems have aspects in which they are similar, but they also have very big differences.

One similarity between the two poems is that they both have titles which express positive feelings about war. However, the titles are both used in different ways; 'Who's for the game?' is an extended metaphor, as it is repeated again during the poem, ‘Who’s for the game, the biggest that’s played…’
Also it is comparing the war to a game, which is a euphemism as well as a metaphor. It is a euphemism because war is a very serious, dangerous matter; whereas a game is something that people enjoy and never get seriously injured in. By using this euphemism, Jessie Pope - the poet – lessens the severity of war, and makes her readers’ think of it as enjoyable, and something that they want to do.

On the other hand, 'Dulce et decorum est' is quite a sarcastic and ironic title. 'Dulce et decorum est' literally translates as ‘It is sweet and fitting’, and it is a quote from the Roman poet Horace. It is repeated in the last line of the poem, which is ‘…Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.’
This means ‘It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.’ But in Wilfred Owen’s opinion it is a lie, because during his poem he expresses his feelings on war, and gives the impression that you shouldn’t go. ‘And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime… Dim, through the misty panes and think green light, as under a green sea, I saw him drowning.’
This is showing one of the appalling ways in which soldiers in the war can die. Also this man dying is not going to save t...


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...ch high zest…’
Although he does directly address his reader too, he is saying completely opposite things to Jessie Pope.

In conclusion, the two poems, 'Who's for the game?' and 'Dulce et decorum est' treat the war very differently. This is mostly because of the different purposes both poets had for writing them. Jessie Pope was enrolled by the government to write poems for newspapers as part of the propaganda trying to make young men sign up for the army. Whereas Wilfred Owen was a soldier who fought in the war himself, and he wrote 'Dulce et decorum est' as a response to Jessie Pope, because he saw her as a typical unfeeling civilian who was supporting the war from the relative safety of the Home Front. Jessie Pope had a limited viewpoint, never having been on the battlefield herself, whereas Wilfred Owen wrote about his first hand experience in the trenches.

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