Comparision of "The Soldier" and "Dulce et Decorum Est"

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“Compare and contrast “The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke with “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen with regard to theme, tone, imagery, diction, metre, etc”

The Soldier by Rupert Brooke, and Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen are two poems which were written during the First World War, and both being written about this conflict, they share the same theme of war poetry. However, the two poems deal very differently with the subject of war, resulting in two very different pieces of writing.

When considering the structure of the poems, they are similar in that they are both written loosely in iambic pentameter. Also, they both have a notable structured rhyme scheme.

Concerning The Soldier, this poem is written in a classic Italian sonnet style, in that it is divided into an octave and sestet. However, the rhyming scheme of the octave is rhymed in Elizabethan fashion of ababcdcd, while the sestet follows the Petrarchan style of efgefg. The reasoning for this break in the rhyming scheme may be a result of Brooke implementing a turn in thought (volta) from a description of the soldier’s death to his legacy. This change is usually seen between the octave and sestet, whereas in this case the volta occurs after the fourth line, but the rhyming scheme continues unaltered up until the sestet, as is to be expected. As a result it is safe to assume that Brooke has implemented the volta after the fourth line in order create a direct relationship between the death of the soldier and his legacy (the soldier is imagining his death in the first four lines and goes on to describe his legacy in the rest of the poem, therefore by changing the focus in this way within the octave and therefore within the same rhyming scheme, he has cr...

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... the reader using the familiar and comforting phrase and then immediately hammering home the gruesome truths of the conflict. By creating this intentional disparity, Owen’s aim of shocking the reader into believing and accepting his viewpoint is very much closer to being achieved.

Ultimately, we have two poems which can be compared on the grounds of their subject, but are poles apart regarding their message. The structure of these poems is not what would be typically expected from a war poem, but are structured on the basis of these typical structures in order to create some sense of familiarity. Brooke’s poem expands on this familiarity while Owen attempts to deliberately sabotage it. In regards to content, Brooke shows throughout his perception of the nobility of dying for one’s country, whilst Owen uses all of his poetic techniques to show the opposite.

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