War is a patriotic act where one seeks the determination to lead their country. It can be viewed noble, cruel, inhumane and can make an individual a hero or a criminal. It effects everyone in a society, hoping their loved one is safe whether fighting in the trenches or waiting at home. It has led to severe individuals suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. Two poems in war literature “Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen and “Facing it” by Yusef Komunyakaa, the authors’ different perspectives will be presented.
“War is Hell.” The often quoted phrase by General William Tecumseh Sherman is an appropriate objection to romanticized ideals of war. General Sherman understood that in order to be victorious, he must make war as horrible as possible for the enemy so that he may not wish to continue fighting. All too often the popular media produces works of fiction such as movies, books, and television shows that idealize war (Gabriel, 46). The Red Baron is a World War I film drama that tries to tackle this issue. The Red baron realistically portrays the misguided notions that war is somehow noble, but as the story progresses the reality and horror of war reveals itself The works of Richard Gabriel and George Mosse contribute to the argument.
He explains how he is a great man because he fought for his country. This is shown in the second stanza, “There shall be / in that rich earth a richer dust concealed”. It implies that the ground conceals the body of a great man who died for his country. On the contrary the poem Dulce et Decorum est portrays a horrid tone against war. He describes war as atrocious, and explains the cruelty and massacre the soldiers go through.
War can also bring out the worst in men. The cruelty of the poem dehumanizes many of the men. The cruelty can be displayed in the actual battling and fighting in war but also in the characteristics of the warriors. The war, at times can bring out ugliness due to the competitive factor warriors are faced with due to the battles. In Book I, Agamemnon states, “Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, and wars and battles; and if you are very strong indeed, that is a god’s gift (The Iliad, Book I, Line 177-178).” In this statement Agamemnon is referring to Achilles and his life as a warrior.
There are often misleading glorified ideas told to people when they first join the war. They are told they will be seen as strong, brave, and somehow immortal. It is seen as a great honor to serve one’s country during war but not everything is as it seems. The gruesome reality of war is often times unacknowledged when recruiting new people. Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce est Decorum et” paints a horrific image of the blood-shed and horror behind war.
During his time in war he wrote many powerful poems; the conditions they lived in and how futile it was. During war propagandists publicised war as daring and heroic, encouraging families to send their sons to join the army. The glorification of war is reflected in the Latin notion; ‘Dulce et decorum est propatria mori’ meaning it is sweet and noble to die for ones country. Owen illustrates this by labelling it as the ‘old lie’. Men were tricked into war considering that after war, they may have a chance of having possessions such as fame and riches.
Both poets swirl around the idea of death in the name of ones country, in this case England in the World War 1 era, but this example serves different purposes in the two poems. Owen uses a graphic example where he remorsefully describes the death caused by a gas attack, exposing to his readers that war is an ugly, brutal and detestable encounter. Yet Brooke uses a different approach, and expresses that not only is it every man’s duty to fight and die for his country to preserve perfection, but once dead, the ashes shall physically enrich the already ‘rich’ soil “In that rich earth, a richer dust concealed”. And all ‘English’ values that the motherland bore will live on in one form or another. This way Brooke tries to convince that there is a deeper meaning to what lies on the surface of war.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane The first steps in war are the steps of overcoming the line of comfort by solving the self-centered beliefs that will break you in a battlefront. Once overcoming those selfish traits and believe in yourself, that is when one flourish on the battle field. Henry Fleming's urge for war was short lived when he was put on the frontline. Henry Fleming was a fearful, coward, who always gained self-control and self-comfort by talking to himself. He exhibited selfish traits throughout the book.
Wilfred Owen is undoubtedly one of the greatest First World War poets, revealing the true horrors of the war and the appalling and horrendous impact that it had on those on the front line. Owen was not anti war; in fact he is well documented in stating that there was a place for war, volunteering himself to go to the front line. Unlike many of his predecessors, Owen did not glorify the War and ignorantly celebrate it, instead he became increasingly discontented with the purpose behind it. He began to loose confidence in the purpose of the War and his opinion on the War, having originally enlisted full of hope and jubilation, took a dramatic change. Owen questioned whether or not the ultimate sacrifices being made were really appreciated by those at home, whilst they glorified and encouraged the War.
World war one was a very difficult time period for every country that fought in it. There were several causes of world war one. A few of them were nationalism, alliances and the assassination of arch-duke Francis Ferdinand. All of these were main causes of why world war started. Nationalism is pride for your country, so if you want to make your country better you will go fight in the war.