Comparing The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dulce ET Decorum EST

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Comparing The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dulce ET Decorum EST

The poems “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “Dulce ET Decorum EST” are war poems. They reflect on two different but equally harrowing events, however the poets portray these events using their own style and the and result is two entirely different views of war.

Alfred Tennyson wrote the “Charge of the Light Brigade” in 1854 and it is about the battle of Balaclava in the Crimean war. Although this battle had no real influence on the outcome of the war it showed the bravery of six hundred British soldiers who charged into almost certain death. The poem itself is a patriotic ballad keeping up with the tradition of the time. The poem is heroic and romantic.

Dulce ET Decorum EST” was written by Wilfred Owen. It is based on World War 1 in which Owen himself fought. He tells of the terror of trench warfare and the frantic activity when a gas shell lands.

In some ways the two poems are similar for example both poets are obviously writing about war. They use rhyme to get across their point this also makes the poems easier to remember and say. They also use alliteration in “The Charge of the light brigade” Tennyson tells

Cannon to the right of them.

Cannon to the left of them.

Cannon in front of them

Also in Dulce ET decorum EST Owen uses alliteration

“Knock-knead, coughing like hags” and “Gas! Gas! Quick boys”

The poets each use punctuation to emphasise points they deem to be important. Tennyson varies his use of exclamation marks whereas Owen uses more full stops and commas so that when your reading you have slow down and take in what is being said. For example in “The Charge of the Light Brigade” “When can their gl...

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...rge, this evidently does not concern him.

Finally Owen juxtaposes the idea of war as devastating and the idea of war as heroic when he says “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest, to children ardent for some desperate glory,” to illustrate the poems ultimate irony –“Dulce ET Decorum est pro patria mori.

In conclusion I would suggest that although these poems show completely different views we must also remember that they were written in two completely different eras. Tennyson’s view of war was of glory and honour reflecting the views of the population at the time. The great historical tradition of Britain as a military power ruling her empire. Owen writes about World War 1, which was the most devastating war the world had seen at that time, it lasted much longer than any war before it and generally was much more horrific.
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