Attitudes to war and how they Developed Wilfred Owen and Alfred Lord Tennysonboth wrote well known poetry about war. Their poems were written in differentcenturies and they clearly illustrate the changing attitude to war These threepoems are all describing the ups and downs of war. The one author saying how waris such a great thing and how brave the soldiers were. The other author sayinghow terrible war is, illustrating the death and injuries.
In Tennysons poem,because it was written earlier than the two poems by Owen, he describes more theglory and heroism of war, rather than the death and stupidity. All three poemsmake you feel pity, even if it may be accidental, which I feel it is inTennysons The Charge of the Light Brigade Let us look at Tennysonspoem, he starts by using repetition. This is a good start as you feel the beatof the hooves of the soldiers horses and this continues through the wholepoem. Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward.
Not only do youinstantly feel the beat, but from the next line you feel you know a lot aboutthe story line. All in the valley of death, Rode the six hundred. This isrepeated at the end of the verse, which I feel is very effective, as I feel itemphasises the fact of the unbalanced odds and the soldiers imminent doom,which of course makes you pity them.
The second verse tells how the soldierswere so loyal to their country, that even though they knew they were in mortaldanger, they didnt question their superiors. The first line in this verse, isan order by the commander that suggests confidence in the troops. Forward thelight brigade! Further on in the verse repetition is used which illustratesthe soldiers bravery and again their respect for their superiors.Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to doand die. In the third verse Tennyson again uses repetition describing thedeadly position they were in. Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the leftof them, Cannon in front of them This helps you understand what they werefacing during this battle and how impossible their fight was. It makes you feelpity for the six hundred soldiers.
In this verse Tennyson glories in thesoldiers bravery, saying: Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws ofdeath, Into the mouth of hell This means that by taking this mission theywere practically committing suicide and it also, again, makes you feel sorry forthe soldiers. The forth verse tells, briefly, the story of the actual battle andhow despite the odds the soldiers still attacked and made progress against theenemy. Flashed all their sabres bare, Flashed as they turned in the air,Sabring the gunners there Here he again uses repetition; I feel this time itemphasises the bravery of the soldiers still attacking a helpless cause.Tennyson expresses the helpless cause further on the verse: Charging an army,while All the world wondered At the start of the fifth verse he again usesrepetition to describe their position. Cannon to the right of them, Cannon tothe left of them, Cannon in front of them In this verse he again tries toshow their bravery, with phrases like While horse and hero fell andThey had fought so well.
The sixth verse is a conclusion, commenting onthe loyalty and bravery of the soldiers and how it was a tragic loss of life.When can their glory fade, O, the wild charge they made And he continues:Honour the charge they made, Honour the light brigade, Noble six hundredIn Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen tells a story of a death in thetrenches from the memory of another soldier. It starts by describing theterrible state the soldiers were in, demonstrating against war. Bent double,like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like old hags, We cursedthrough sludge A few lines down, it says; Men marched asleep.
Andanother similar line; Drunk with fatigue. This is saying how tired thesoldiers were and how badly they were being worked. The next verse starts withpanic: Gas! Gas! Quick boys, An ecstasy of fumbling This verse explainsthe gas attack, the panic and the death of the unnamed victim. Andfloundring like in fire or lime Dim, through the misty planes and thickgreen light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning In this section of thepoem he compares the gas to the ocean, which I feel, gives you the idea of densewaves splashing over the victim and drowning him. After this verse there are twolines separated from the poem.
They read: In all my dreams, before myhelpless He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. I feel these separatedlines give a more personal touch to the writing and makes the reader feel moreinvolved. The last verse starts by describing the appalling way they throw hisbody in the back of a truck and the face of the corpse.
His hanging face likethe devil sick of sin, If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Then Owenrounds up the poem in a great way discriminating against war by saying: Theold lie: Dulce et Decorum est, Pro Patria mon. This, in English, means Itis sweet and honourable to die for your fatherland, which Owen is calling a lie.Wilfred Owen calls the next poem Disabled. He imagines the thoughts of avery young and severely wounded soldier. He has lost all of his limbs and nowsits helplessly in a wheelchair, thinking sadly and bitterly of the past.
Thepoem starts by describing his surroundings and his crippled condition. He satin a wheeled chair, waiting for dark And shivered in his ghastly suit of greyIt was cold, because of him shivering and his ghastly suit of grey meant thathis skin was in bad condition. The next part of the verse turns to the voices ofboys outside. Voices of play and pleasure after day, Till gathering sleep hadmothered them from him Owen is explaining how hes falling asleepprotecting him from their voices and his jealousy of them.
The next verse is allabout his memories and he compares them to how he is now. Now he will neverfeel again how slim Girls waists are, or how warm their subtle their subtlehands, All of them touch him like some queer disease The poem continuesdescribing how handsome and popular he used to be. There was an artist, sillyfor his face, For it was younger than his youth, last year.
This suggeststhat his face had looked younger than his age and that it had been agood-looking face. The next couple of lines find him again comparing himself tohis old self. Hes lost his colour very far from here, Poured it downshell-holes till the veins ran dry, The next verse it starts with an ironictone. One time he liked a blood smear down his leg, After the matches,carried shoulder high. This is ironic, he used to wear blood on his leg,proudly, as a badge of courage, but now he doesnt have any legs and certainlywouldnt enjoy the thought of blood because of his injuries.
In the next fewlines he wonders why he joined the army and comes to the conclusion that he wasshowing off and continues, saying that the army took no notice of his youth.Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts, He asked to join, he didnthave to beg, The next verse comments on his disappointment on returning homeas few cheered him. Some cheered him home, but not as a crowd cheer goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits Thanked him; and inquired about hissoul. The next verse makes you feel pity for the even more than the rest ofthe poem as it talks of his future. Now, he will spend a few sick years ininstitutes, And do what the rules consider wise, The second line saying hecant make his own decisions. Further down, at the end of the verse he triesto escape from his thoughts. How cold and late it is! Why dont they comeAnd put him into bed? Why dont they come? The two authors styles arestrikingly different. Tennyson tries to make the soldiers sound brave andheroic, even glorious.
Owen tries to make you feel sorry for them and theirsuffering. Yet Tennyson glorifies the deaths, the slaughter of hundreds of men,who died for no reason, in fact because of a mistake. Tennyson wrote his poem ata time when propaganda was needed to promote a war between the British Empireand the Russians. Owen wrote his poetry based on personal experience of thehorrors of the First World War, realising that war was not something to beglorified but something abhorrent.English Essays