“Dulce et decorum est” and “Who’s for the game?” In comparing the two war poems by Jessie Pope and Wilfred Owen I have analysed the ways they have presented war. The poems have very different opinions on the Great War, “Dulce et decorum est “is against the war and the injustice of it all whereas “Who’s for the game”, is a recruitment poem. At the time Jessie wrote ‘Who’s for the game’ she couldn’t do any research on the war, due to the media and propaganda, also with being a women with no experience in the war it was hard for her to know the harsh reality. ‘Who’s for the game’ was written with the intent of trying to enlist more men for the war as Pope believed that all men should stand up and fight for their country. However ‘Dulce et decorum est’ has a different view on war, it was written in response to ‘Who’s for the game’ and it was written to show Jessie Pope and the rest of the public that war isn’t at all glorious and it’s not patriotic to fight for their country, both poems have used metaphors and pronouns to portray these ideas.
The repetition of question marks and dashes illustrate the confusion and frustration witnessing Owens fellow comrades, it is a demanding tone begging for explanation for the entrapment of victims. And as a result, it encourages the reader to consider the impact the war had on both, the soldiers who survived, and those who didn’t. Dulce et Decorum Est brings to reality that war is not what people say it is. Given by its very title, ‘It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country’. Although, it only an illusion reinforced throughout the poem, along with its irony and sarcasm that is ‘The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori’, it is not sweet and fitting to die for ones country.
“I hate that drum's discordant sound” is the source of his tension and fear at the war; the use of the word “discordant” mirrors his own inner conflict at the war and how he feels about it. Significantly, Scott, like Carson, uses strong imagery to convey feeling of conflict and tension in his poem “The Drum” The imagery is one of horror and death. “And when Ambition's voice commands,” The word “Ambition’s” is like the recruiting officer for an army. It is personifying “Ambition” and showing that the men who want to fight are pushed into it by an officer that makes it sound very enticing. The word commands talks of how the men really don’t have a choice in joining the fight or not as if they are already in the army.
Owen is driven more by betrayal than the actual horror of war. Do you agree? Wilfred Owen composed his collection of poetry entitled ‘The War Poems’ during his horrific experiences on the battlefront of World War One. He was compelled to write them because of the deception and dishonesty he felt was being spread about what war was like. Owen used his poems to deliver the truth about war and change the views of society at that time.
This can be interpreted as Owen attempting to illustrate the voice of many soldiers, through a poem. The line, “…Waiting for the dark” indicates that soldiers were simply waiting for death to come, either because they were critically injured, or because they were waiting to go into battle. Another interpretation of this is that soldiers cannot bear the day, as the sight of their injuries, and their comrades’ injuries is too big of a strain for them, therefore they would rather choose isolation over companionship. The rest of the first stanza, Owen describes how war had changed everything. He writes that “voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn” which indicates that laughter of children saddens him as he isn’t capable of laughing, because of the war.
We see fragmentation in their respective relationships through the structure. The Manhunt is written in couplets which suggest a relationship between two people. However, there is little rhyme in these couplets which shows us that there isn’t harmony in their relationship. Perhaps the war in which Eddie was in has made his mind focus on the destruction of war to the extent that he can’t think of his relationship. After all, he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Owen commented on his poetry that ‘my subject is war, and the pity of it… all a poet can do is warn.’ Owen and Sassoon were both trying to warn young men against war and inform the public on how brutal and disgusting war actually is In both poems, after describing the obscene conditions of war and the impact that these conditions had on the soldiers, the poets dedicated a stanza to condemning the reader on any encouragement they may have had towards young men going to war. They did this through the use of personal pronouns. In ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ Owen condemns the use of the saying “Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori” (It is sweet and fitting to die for your country) by using personal pronouns to involve the reader in the reality of war “If you could hear at every jolt/ the blood come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs… my friend you would not tell with such high zest… the old lie: Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori.” In ‘Suicide in the trenches’ personal pronouns are also used to disapprove of the encouragement of war “You smug faced crowds… who cheer when soldier lads march by/ sneak home and pray you’ll never know/ the hell where youth and laughter go.” Personal pronouns are used in order to involve the
In the novel, ‘Regeneration’ by Pat Barker, the themes of horror and futility are significantly explored. As a result of the horrific events in the war, many soldiers developed psychological problems such as shell shock. In effect, many soldiers such as Siegfried Sassoon reacted against the war and the fact that it was futile, as the motives turned from ‘a war of defence and liberation to a war of aggression and conquest’. In his war poetry, Siegfried Sassoon shows the horrors of war through vivid imagery, and the futility of war, as non combatants such as civilians and generals do not understand what the soldiers experience at the front. In many ways, Barker’s ‘Regeneration’ contrasts with Sassoon’s poetry, due to the fact that the novel is written in the 20th Century, where the characters recount their horrors of war in the safety of Craiglockhart Hospital.
‘Apologia Pro Poemate Meo’ – Wilfred Owen ‘Apologia Pro Poemate Meo’ deals with the atrocities of World War I. The poem conveys the battle between good and evil, both within the soldiers themselves and war as a whole. This poem gives insight into Owen’s intent to criticise the people who persuade the soldiers to sign up. By starting the poem with ‘I’, Owen indicates this is a personal poem similar to ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ and ‘The Dead Beat’ but unlike these poems, it is not inspired by personal events. Yet like ‘The Send Off’ and ‘Spring Offensive’ , this poem encapsulates a note of prophecy and appears to have an exolted tone as through all the horrors of the war, the soldiers managed to ‘give their laughs more glee than shakes a child.’ This pure love and pure horror expressed in this poem is mutually exclusive.
In my opinion, these lines reflect Macbeth’s hopelessness and indirectly reflect much thinking of Shakespeare. Macbeth speaks these lines after listening to his wife’s death. At this time, life to Macbeth is meaningless and the death is not very important and worthy being painful at all. When uttering this saying, Macbeth may think about his real life in which he made “a lot of noise”, he wrote a story, he fought many battles, he tried to become a king, he kept the throne; however, after death they all seem to become nothing. In Macbeth’s as well as Shakespeare’s thinking, all people in this life are just bad, stupid actors- shouting and running about and generally making a lot of noise and fuss but not much sense, and then they die anyway and become completely meaningless.