A Comparison of Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum est to Alfred Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade

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A Comparison of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum est” to Alfred Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade”

In this essay I will attempt to compare and contrast Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum est” to Alfred Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade”. I will examine the use of poetic devices in the poems as well as outline what is happening in each.

Wilfred Owen was born on the 18th of March 1893 in owestry, United Kingdom. He was the oldest of four children and was educated in an evangelical school. Though Owen rejected most of his beliefs by 1913 the influence of his education still remains evident in his poems and their themes of sacrifice, biblical language and his vivid, frightening description of hell. One of the main influences on Owen’s poetry was his meeting with Siegfried Sassoon, though Owen soon fashioned his own style and approach to the war. The characteristics of Owen’s poetry are the use of Para rhyme (The rhyming of two words which have the same consonants but whose stressed vowels are different), alliteration, and assonance.

Alfred Tennyson was born on 5th August 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire and died on the 6th October 1892 to later be buried in the poet’s corner in Westminster Abby. Tennyson was often regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry, succeeding Wordsworth as poet laureate in 1850.

Wilfred Owen’s poems are inspired by the horrors of his own experiences in World War One from 28th July 1914 to 4th November 1918, the day that he died 1 week before the armistice. At the time of this poem there were excessive amounts of propagandistic poetry for example Jessie Pope’s “Who’s for the game?”

Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade” was written to commemorate the suicidal charge by British light cavalry over open terrain in the Battle of Balaclava (Ukraine) in the Crimean War from 1854 to 1856. This was the first war to have photographic media coverage. Of the 637 men involved in the charge, 247 were killed or injured.

Tennyson describes the valiant charge of the light brigade into “the jaws of death”. Tennyson makes use of repetition, allusion, and personification to paint a vivid picture of the charge and at the same time give the reader an insight into the mind of the brave soldiers of the light brigade. The rhythm of this poem imitates the sound of the horses galloping towards th...

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...nly minor injuries can me sustained from war for example a broken leg.

I preferred “Charge of the light brigade” because the pace and rhyming scheme give a sense of action and excitement. Strong metaphors and similes are used to provide the reader with an insight into the minds of the soldiers. I especially like how Tennyson describes the conflict itself in the 4th stanza, as this is a strong example of the sense of action in his work.

The perception of war has gone through much change since the time of Tennyson, in Tennyson’s time war was regarded as a good thing but over time the perception of war has completely reversed, and in my opinion it seems these days that war is something that should be avoided at all costs mainly due to the technical advances made giving war much more potential to destroy more than just lives. I will conclude this essay with a quote from “the charge of the light brigade” which I believe shows the heroism of those men who died for their country and persevered under impossible odds.

“When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wondered.

Honour the charge they made,

Honour the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred.
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