For this essay I am going to be looking at ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke and ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen. I am going to look at how these two war poems have responded and changed to the historical context within which they were written.
In the time span which these poets were writing there was a major historical event. 1914 marks the beginning of World War One during this time there was a huge interest of people who wanted to sign up and fight for their country. The main way of the government recruiting all these soldiers was through propaganda and using this to persuade innocent people that it was noble and honourable to fight for their country.
This can be seen in Rupert Brooke’s ‘The Soldier’, Brooke was writing at the beginning of the war and this can be reflected in his work. Patriotism is a key theme in this work and this can be seen throughout it, ‘There’s some corner of a foreign field that is forever England’ (Brooke 2012: 1915, line 2-3) the speaker in this poem is proud to be fighting for his country and believes that it doesn’t matter if he dies during the process because there will still be a part of England somewhere in the world. The use of ‘forever’ in this line shows how strong the speakers beliefs are that England will constantly go on and he is proud to be part of that. This shows the thoughts and views of the soldiers fighting in the war and how to propaganda by the government has made this soldiers believe highly how noble it is to be a part of the war and to fight for his country. Another example of patriotism is shown when the speaker says ‘A dust whom Eng...
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The structure of this poem is a double sonnet consisting of 4 stanzas. In the second stanza we are confronted with a gas attack ‘Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!-An ecstasy of fumbling’ (Owen 2012: 1920, line 9) this is the 9th line of the poem which is also known as the Volta in a sonnet. We can see the with the use of exclamation marks showing how the pace of the poem has went from a very slow and tiring one to a quick ‘ecstasy of fumbling’ as they try to put their gas masks on in time. This shows the demands of the war and how even when the soldiers thought they were done for the day a sneak gas attack was brought upon them. ‘I saw him drowning’ (Owen 2012: 1920, line 14) the use of the first person enables the reader to engage and believe more in the events being told because it is real life and coming from someone who has had to deal with the demands and horrors of war.
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