Comparison Of Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce Et Decorum Est And Anthem For Doomed Youth' And Rupert Brooke's 'The Dead'

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An individual’s depiction of war is inevitably influenced by the harsh realities of war, a destructive machine which results in the suffering of many in both physical and mental sufferings; this idea is evident in the literature of Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth’ and Rupert Brooke’s ‘The Dead.’ Owen explores the physical yet graphic imagery of the First World War, which the soldiers experienced. Wilfred Owen exposes the idea of war being wrongly glorified and false accusations of the exemplified reality of war, Whilst Rupert Brooke glorifies war as being patriotic and heroic

Within Owen’s poem Dulce Et Decorum Est, he unveils the detrimental realities of war and the physical and psychological impacts it has upon common soldier’s well-being. Owen establishes his poem with the simile,” bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knock-kneed coughing like hags,” to create a dark and shocking atmosphere. The simile emphasises the soldier’s low body posture through ‘bent double’. This highlights the sufferings of the soldiers as a result of the harshness of war, hence impacting their physical health. The juxtaposition of the soldiers to aged people in rags, suggests their youth and vitality has been destroyed which further conveys their insignificance as they are just ‘beggars’ and ‘hags’, thus being dehumanised. Furthermore, the hyperbole “Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,” suggests many had become blind or had lost their limbs as a result of the horrors of war. This is referenced to gas attacks used during World War 1 as an effective yet horrific way to cause the deaths of innocent soldiers. Furthermore, Owen captures physical pain as seen in the syndeton, “But someone still was yelling out and flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.” This highlights the explicit and graphic suffering in which the dying soldier had experienced, hence depicting the severity of war. Thus, Owen attempts to display the true gruesome nature of war as he depicts the physical and psychological traumatic sufferings in which many young men including Owen had encountered.

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Another one of his texts “Anthem for Doomed Youth” also exposes the false images shone onto war through glorification and the reality of war.

Within “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, the horrors of war and degradation of soldiers is explored through the view of Wilfred Owen. Wilfred Owen’s use of assonance of “Doomed Youth” highlights the idea of freedom and innocence being robbed from the young, the assonance adds solid structure to the idea, giving it support and reinforces the idea. The irony of the idea of it being an anthem usually affiliated with an uplifting and rousing idea, whilst in this context is talking about innocence being stolen. This idea expresses the true realities of war and how they’re not how they have been glorified through media. Wilfred Owen also uses a rhetorical question in “what passing-bells for these who die as cattle? To describe the soldiers. He questions the audience about the human experience felt by the soldiers. He refers to the passing bells, the ones rung to mark the death of a loved one and in this case marks the death of the soldiers. Wilfred also uses a simile in “die as cattle” in this sense calling the soldiers cattle, dehumanising the young men from their human ways and rights. This line connects with the audience and creates a sense of empathy as the image of soldiers dying dehumanises them comparing them to cattle which illustrates cattle dying in a slaughterhouse. Wilfred’s use of personification in “Only the monstrous anger of the guns” shapes the guns as being filled with monsours anger. The high modality in the description emphasises the destruction brought with the use of the weapons, marking the passing of the young soldiers. This presents the idea of the harsh realities of war brought to us by war poets such as Wilfred Owen.

On the other hand, Rupert Brooke constructed “The Dead” before WW1 Depicting what he saw war as before it started. He praises the soldiers for sacrificing themselves honouring them and giving them heroic titles. Within the first line of the poem he glorifies the wealth they gain in “Blow out, you bugles, over the rich dead” he glorifies the sacrifices young soldiers make in war. This idea of them sacrificing themselves is seen as heroic and patriotic, thus glorifying the war. This idea compared to Wilfred Owen’s view on war juxtapose each other with their contrasting ideas giving two different perspectives. Rupert also gives them a heroic label in the quote “That men call age; and those who would have been, Their sons, they gave their immortality”. This quote directly exposes the sacrifices that the soldiers gave up. It expresses the idea if parents sons sacrificing their immortality for their country and the idea of patriotism. Personification is used in “Nobleness walks in our way” to personify returning soldiers. He provides a prediction of how it’ll feel once returning soldiers walk in, nobleness filling the room. The patriotic and heroic label is given to the soldiers for leaving home to fight for war. This is a glorified image of war is hidden behind the shadows of this poem, hiding the true sufferings of war.

Thus, it is evident that war is a devastating human experience, that negatively impacts communities and dehumanises individuals. War not only involves disastrous physical consequences for soldiers; it can also impact their wellbeing internally. These ideas are portrayed through the literature of Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce et decorum est and Anthem for Doomed Youth’ and Rupert Brooke ‘The Dead’ Whilst, Owen explores the terrible exhaustion of the trenches and horrors of gas attacks on common soldiers, whilst Rupert Brooke expressed an idea of going to war being patriotic and heroic, in which is his perspective of war; contrasting Wilfred Owen’s Idea.  


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