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War Poetry

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Poetry is how war veterans can effectively get across the darkness of war. ‘Suicide in the Trenches’ in the Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon takes place during World War One and tells the story of a ‘simple’ soldier boy. Similar to ‘Suicide in the Trenches’, Wilfred Owen’s ‘‘Dulce et Decorum Est’’ is set during World War One. However this poem tells of one of the horrors Owen had to face during his service in the war. The title translates to ‘It is sweet and right’ from the Latin saying ‘dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ meaning ‘It is sweet and honourable to die for one’s fatherland’. Both poems successfully explore the impact of war and use several different techniques to educate the reader on the theme.
Both poets use various different techniques to create graphic images of how war effects young men.
‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ begins by using similes to describe how the young men, who had signed up for the war, now looked.
“Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge”
Owen uses several similes to deepen our appreciation of the poem. They create an image of young soldiers walking with arched backs, their clothes tattered and torn, much like an old beggar. They also show how the soldiers are crippled, both mentally and physically, and are burdened by the weight of the war. Owen also seems to be reluctant to introduce him and his fellow soldiers. We are acquainted with simile upon simile before we are introduced to the mysterious ‘we’, the subjects of the poem. The similes show that it is almost as if Owen believes the reader will be unable to imagine what war is really like. Owen seems to have searched for images the reader will actually understand, as if he is convinced they...

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...ecorum Est’ created a bigger impact on the reader and educated them more on the theme of war. This poem used several different techniques including, irony, similes, metaphors and the inclusion of the reader. Whereas ‘Suicide in the Trenches’ in the Trenches didn’t use as many different techniques and did not use them as effectively. I think the title of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ was particularly effective in the way it was used ironically. The way Owen talked to the reader as if they would never be able to understand unless they were there created a major impact on the reader. Another way the poem was so effective was how the different similes Owen used could be interpreted differently by different readers. For all the reasons listed above I belive Wilfred Owen was more successful in delivering a poem that made the reader take note of the theme and the impact of war.
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