Dulce et Decorum Est and The Charge of the Light Brigade

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Although both Dulce et Decorum Est and The Charge of the Light Brigade are about battle and the death of soldiers, they portray the experience of war in different ways. Tennyson´s poem celebrates the glory of war, despite the fact that, because of an error of judgement ('Someone had blundered´), six hundred soldiers were sent to their death. Owen´s poem, on the other hand, might almost have been written as a challenge to Tennyson´s rousing and jingoistic sentiments. He presents the horror of senseless death in the trenches and shows us how the famous line from the Roman poet Horace, 'it is sweet and becoming to die for your country´, is a lie. We are told that Tennyson wrote 'Light Brigade´ in a few minutes after reading the description in The Times of the Battle of Balaclava in 1854. He was a civilian poet, as opposed to a soldier poet like Owen. His poem 'Light Brigade´ increased the morale of the British soldiers fighting in the Crimean War and of the people at home, but Tennyson had not been an eyewitness to the battle he describes. Wilfred Owen wrote 'Dulce´ towards the end of the First World War. He was killed in action a week before the war ended in 1918. He wanted to end the glorification of war. Owen was against the propaganda and lies that were being told at the time. He had first-hand experience of war and wanted to tell people back at home the truth. Owen was an officer and often had to send men to their deaths and 'Dulce´ gives a personal account of what the war was like. Many patriotic poems had been written at the time. Owen knew that they lied.. Tennyson´s poem is a celebration of the bravery of the six hundred British troops who went into battle against all odds, even though the... ... middle of paper ... ...sores on innocent tongues´. During the man´s death it is as if you are reliving his torture. Owen gives us a detailed picture of the war: he talks in the first person, 'I saw him drowning´, and describes one dying man, in contrast to Tennyson´s rather impersonal 'six hundred´. He wants us to imagine that we are actually there on the battlefield so we get an idea of what it was like. This poem is the closest we will get to experiencing such atrocities and if we had, Owen tells us in the final lines, then we would not try to glorify the war any more. In the Preface to his poems, published after his death, Owen wrote, 'All a poet can do today is warn. That is why true poets must be truthful´. This why he criticizes 'the high zest´ that some people have for 'the old Lie´ of the glory of war, and why I think that 'Dulce´ is the more powerful poem of the two.
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