World War One has influenced many poets to write their experiences of war. Dulce et Decorum est, by Wilfred Owen, is a poem about the horrid experiences soldiers went through while they were at war. Owen describes the atrocity of a gas attack and the painful mental anguish that was shown on the soldiers face. Rupert Brook’s, The Soldier, describes the patriotism that supposedly accompanies war. His view of war is that dying for your country is the most honorable act of man.
“Dulce et Decorum Est” (1918), a poem by Wilfred Owen, provides readers with a view of war contrary to the romanticized portrayals common during the early 20th century. Owen, born in 1893, died fighting in World War I in 1918. This British writer amplified the basic theme of the poem by beginning the poem in iambic pentameter; later, he diverged from the poetic form to submerge the reader into the chaotic and desperate atmosphere of the poem. The author’s main idea reflects the haunting tragedy and irony of war in a passionate plea to those who appeal to the youth with glorified ideas of battle. The dramatic situation, of this poem, provides information about the speaker, audience, and plot.
Owen presents us a sarcastic view towards the idea of being honorable to sacrifice for their country and buttresses it with abundant of horrific images. It is a war sonnet that captures the feelings of survivors to those who lost their lives in war. The use of a sonnet creates a sense of intensity in his poem, briefness and portrays the nature of death on a battlefield. Moreover, Owen uses the rhyme scheme of “ababcdcdeffegg” to show the strong division between the lines. The choice of a sonnet allows Owen to convey his message effectively and remain emotional to keep the readers interested.
Both poets swirl around the idea of death in the name of ones country, in this case England in the World War 1 era, but this example serves different purposes in the two poems. Owen uses a graphic example where he remorsefully describes the death caused by a gas attack, exposing to his readers that war is an ugly, brutal and detestable encounter. Yet Brooke uses a different approach, and expresses that not only is it every man’s duty to fight and die for his country to preserve perfection, but once dead, the ashes shall physically enrich the already ‘rich’ soil “In that rich earth, a richer dust concealed”. And all ‘English’ values that the motherland bore will live on in one form or another. This way Brooke tries to convince that there is a deeper meaning to what lies on the surface of war.
The message that ‘Dulce Et Decorum’ delivers is a complete contrast. It tells the reader that war is chaos, pain and is not worth a life. Wilfred Owen makes his point at the end of the poem in which he says ‘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’ Which is Latin for ‘It is sweet and meet (fitting) to die for one’s country.’ This is a powerful end to such a powerful poem not only does it express the point of the whole poem but it also addresses the reader as ‘My friend’ making it feel more direct and personal.
In contrast Owen's poem attacks the idealistic and romantic view put forward by Brooke. He argues against the ideals of heroism and self-sacrifice. He is more concerned with all the men going into war thinking that it is heroic and glorious when actually it is horrible and that millions of men die every day. The poem which I prefer between Rupert Brooke's The Soldier and Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est is Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum because it describes the war as I believe it is and it is very descriptive on how the gas attack happened and how all the men felt. So I like Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum overall
Owen’s main aim was to open up the truth about war and the horrific and gruesome reality of being a soldier, contradicting the propaganda illustrating soldiers as heroic, honorable, and proud. Owen’s poem ‘Strange Meeting’ shows the horrors of war through dramatic and memorable imagery that allow us to feel deep pity for the young soldiers, whether it’s physical or the soldier’s inner mental pain. For example, “They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress” (line 29) is a metaphor describing the violent attacks during the war. Meanwhile, “With a thousand fears that vision's face was grained” (line 11) gives a clear picture of what the dead soldier’s face was like, bringing pity to the reader. These images are used to show the immense harm and the brutality of war and its effect on men.
Despite his patriotic view, he has repeated the danger of an early death in his poem, proving he is fully aware of war's horrors. Owen has shown war as being gruesome. His poem describes the war through the senses, which allows readers enter the shoes of Wilfred Owen, and understand war's tragedy. He believes that 'sweet and proper to die for your country' is a lie, unlike Tennyson. Alfred Tennyson's poem was based on a newspaper article that has made the poem biased and patriotic.
By use of gripping words and vivid descriptions, Owen paints incredible pictures of what World War I was really like. He tears away the glory and drama and reveals the real essence of fighting: fear, torture, and death. No longer are we left with good feelings and pretty phrases like "Liberty and justice for all!" Instead, our hearts grieve over what these soldiers had to suffer through. Every line of the poem rebuts the Roman poet Horace's quotation: "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori--It is sweet and becoming to die for one's country."
All in all, war is a disaster in the human history and thousands of young men died during their sacrifice of deceived patriotism. Wilfred Owen has excelled in expressing his experiences and perspectives/concerns of war through the use of literary and poetic devices such as allusion, metaphor and tonality within the poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, “Disabled” and “Mental Cases”. Due to further meanings behind these techniques, the poems have indirect effect in influencing the responder’s attitude toward war.