Dulce et Decorum Est and The Charge of the Light Brigade Essay

1301 Words 6 Pages
Although both Dulce et Decorum Est and The Charge of the Light
Brigade are about battle and the death of soldiers, they portray the experience of war in different ways.

Tennyson´s poem celebrates the glory of war, despite the fact that, because of an error of judgement ('Someone had blundered´), six hundred soldiers were sent to their death.

Owen´s poem, on the other hand, might almost have been written as a challenge to Tennyson´s rousing and jingoistic sentiments. He presents the horror of senseless death in the trenches and shows us how the famous line from the Roman poet Horace, 'it is sweet and becoming to die for your country´, is a lie.

We are told that Tennyson wrote 'Light Brigade´ in a few minutes after
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'Half a league, half a league

Half a league onward´

Tennyson creates a vivid impression of the bravery of the soldiers with many 'verbs of action:

'Flash'd all their sabres bare,

Flash'd as they turn'd in air,

Sabring the gunners there. The heroic command in stanza 1, which is repeated for effect in stanza 2, sweeps the reader along without time to question the futility of the gesture:

'Forward, the Light Brigade!

'Charge for the guns!´

He uses noble sounding euphemisms like 'the valley of Death´, 'the jaws of Death´, 'the mouth of Hell to describe the fate that awaits these men. He does not convey the gory reality of the slaughter.

Tennyson creates a feeling of exhilaration, of the nobility of warfare with his use of poetic devices, such as rhetorical repetition:

'Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them´,

and alliteration:

'Stormed at with shot and shell,

While horse and hero fell´

Tennyson celebrates the ideal of unquestioning obedience of the soldiers in the face of death:

'Their's not to make reply,

Their's not to reason why,

Their's but to do and die´

In the final stanza Tennyson creates a sense of the immortality of the soldiers´ bravery with a rhetorical question and commands:

'When can

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