Comparison of Dulce et Decorum Est and Charge of the Light Brigade

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Comparison of Dulce et Decorum Est and Charge of the Light Brigade

Compare and contrast the two poems Dulce et Decorum Est (Owen)

with Charge of the Light Brigade (Tennyson), paying particular

attention to the writers’ attitude to war.

The attitudes of poets towards war have always been expressed

vigorously in their poetry, each poet either condoning or condemning

war, and mitigating 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 convey their views persuasively, and justify them. For this job I

have chosen to write about “Charge of the Light Brigade” written by

the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson and “Dulce et Decorum est” by the poet

Wilfred Owen. These two poems describe war, and scenes from war, with

varying levels of intensity and reality and also from different


Written during the Crimean War Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light

Brigade” mirrors the sentiments expressed in the Battle of Balaclava.

This event took place in 1854 and is still remembered as one of the

most famous triumphs in British history. The truth is that Lord

Raglan suicidally led his troops " Into the valley of Death ", where

they were massacred. Lord Tennyson was the poet Laureate at the time

of the Crimean war, but did not witness any fighting and was not

involved in it but his clever and effective use of literary devices in

his poem ensure that this military fiasco was remembered as a glorious

victory. Tennyson puts across a message to remember, respect and

honour the soldiers for what they have given up their lives to do for

their country.

“Dulce et Decorum est” however, was writt...

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suggesting that the writers of glorious war poems have even lied to

the young people, and sent them to the front line to die in their

millions, in awful conditions and distressing situations.

Having explored both poems, I feel that the one which brings about the

biggest response from me is “Dulce et Decorum est”. This is because of

the striking graphic imagery he uses, the way he describes the effects

of the war on him, and also because of the way he directs the poem at

the reader personally, using phrases such as “you” and “my friend”. In

my opinion, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” does not have the impact

and the realism to convey the opinions contained in it effectively and

forcefully. I feel is a more imaginative, outlook on war than Wilfred

Owen’s graphic poem. The thing I did like about Tennyson’s poem was

the excitement and passion and pace.

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