A Comparison of The Charge of the Light Brigade, Dulce Et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth

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A Comparison of The Charge of the Light Brigade, Dulce Et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth

The attitudes of poets towards war have always been articulated

vigorously in their poetry, each poet either condoning or condemning

war, and justifying their attitudes in whatever way possible. I aim to

explore the change in the portrayal of war before and during the

twentieth century, and also the structures and devices poets use to

express their views persuasively, and substantiate them. These three

poems describe war, and scenes from war, with varying levels of

intensity and reality from differing viewpoints.

I am going to make a comparison between the three poems: 'The Charge

of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Tennyson, 'Dulce et Decorum Est', and

'Anthem for Doomed Youth' both by Wilfred Owen. 'The Charge of the

Light Brigade' was written in the nineteenth century and is relating

to a battle fought in the Crimean War. 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and

'Anthem for Doomed Youth' were written during the First World War.

In 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', Tennyson doesn't describe the

scene with the vivid detail of 'Dulce et Decorum Est', nor does he

describe the blood and gore of the battle field. Tennyson has imagined

himself there as an eyewitness and throughout the poem he has

attempted to take readers on the same sympathetic journey. Although

the poem was written before television was invented, he was able to

portray the battle as it would be shown on film. Tennyson's potent

imagery and use of repetition makes the reader visualize the urgency

of the headlong charge into 'the valley of death'.

'The Charge of the Light Brigade' was wr...

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... Tennyson's rather impersonal 'six hundred'. He wants us to imagine

that we are actually there on the battlefield so we get an idea of

what it was like. This poem is the closest we will get to experience

such atrocities and if we had, Owen tells us in the final lines, then

we would not try to glorify war any longer. In the preface to his

poems, published after his death, Owen wrote, 'All a poet can do today

is warn. That is why true poets must be truthful'. For this reason he

criticizes 'the high zest' that some people have for 'the old lie' of

glorifying war. Of the three poems, although I admire 'Anthem for

Doomed Youth' for its quiet dignity in the face of undignified

burials, I admire 'Dulce et Decorum Est' more as it is the most

powerful poem of the three, and I shall for ever remember the impact

it has had on me.
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