Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Comparison Between Dulce Et Decorum Est and Pro Patria Essay

The First World War was the first truly modern war. Its atrocities and huge death toll changed people’s views of war drastically. Pro patria, by Owen Seaman and Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen are both war poems written around the time of the First World War, and as such share certain surface properties. However, the two poems differ hugely in their implicit meaning and intentions, giving the two poems many subtle differences between their texts. Both poems use metaphor. Seaman uses metaphor when mentioning the â€Å"brute sword† and soldiers using â€Å"storied ‘scutcheons†, a blaringly inaccurate image to conjure up the idea of chivalry and knights in shining armor, giving that the fighting would be fair and glorious, as opposed to the mass slaughter and unimaginable tortures spelled out in Owen’s Dulce et Decorum est. seaman also makes use of anthropomorphisation, making England out as some great, good but indistinct creature. He refers to England as a being of some sort, writing of it’s pleas for peace at â€Å"the nations bar†, stating that England needed to go to war to keep its honor. Owen uses metaphor to show the state of the soldiers in his poem, saying that the men were â€Å"drunk with fatigue†. The use of simile is more found only in his poem, when he talks about soldiers â€Å"bent double, like beggars under sacks† and â€Å"coughing like hags†. The u se of simile as opposed to metaphor adds to the realness of the poem. Both war poems have religious undertones. The use of Latin in both texts aids this, mimicking the Latin masses of the Catholic Church. Seaman says that those left at home whilst their sons go to war must be â€Å"strong in faith and in prayer† and that they should â€Å"ask what offering we may consecrate†, suggesting to the people back home to turn to their faith for comfort, and to be willing to give up the luxuries of a quiet life for the greater good. Dolce et Decorum est, on the other hand, uses the idea of the devil’s face to describe the expression of a gas victim: â€Å"His hanging face, like a Devil’s sick of sin† The comparison also describes the world weariness of the soldier, what atrocities must a devil be to be sick of sin? Both poems are trying to affect the public’s views on the war. Pro Patria is essentially a propaganda poem, an invention used to great effect during the Boer war and revived at the advent of the First World War. The poems early references to honor and duty are to provoke young men into singing up for the army, fabricating images of glorious victory in their minds, and carefully avoiding the nitty gritty mechanics of it, the living in squalid trenches and the likelihood of death. The later sections of the poem are addressed to the parents of the â€Å"warrior sons† urging them to keep a stiff upper lip, or as he puts it â€Å"to hush all vulgar clamor of the street†. The reason for this is that if every time a mother received a letter from the M.O.D telling her that her son was dead she were to rush out into the street screaming â€Å"OH MY GOD, MY POOR HARRY! HE’S GONE!† other mothers and fathers would have reservations about sending their sons off to war. Therefore the silence of bereaved parents of â€Å"worrier sons† went some way to helping the recruiting sergeant’s job. Dulce et Decorum est is the perfect opposite of the propaganda that is Pro Patria. Whiles Pro Patria uses misleading metaphors Dulce et Decorum est attempts to create the realities of war. Where Pro Patria attempts to glorify war and depict it as honorable, Dulce et Decorum est shows the dirt grime and suffering that went on at the front line. The impassiveness of the soldiers to the gruesome death of the gas victims as they fling him in the cart (the use of the word â€Å"flung† emphasizing the fact that this was not unusual and that it had happened before), the description of the soldiers as â€Å"beggars† shows a stark contrast to Seaman’s proud and noble warrior sons. In structure the poems are quite similar, Dulce et Decorum est seeming to be almost a parody of the older Pro Patria. Indeed when read line by line alternately from different poems, the poems seem to compliment each other: â€Å"England in this great fight to which you go, Bent double like old beggars under sacks†¦Ã¢â‚¬  Also, the last stanzas of both poems use very similar rhyme patterns. Pro Patria’s penultimate lines rhyme best with test, and Dulce et Decorum est rhymes zest with est in the same lines (in relation to the end). Both poems encapsulate their message in the last lines, the finishing pleas of Seamen for parents to send their sons to war, and the solemn Latin verse of Dulce et Decorum est warning people not to indulge in jingoism: â€Å"My friend you would not tell with such high zest, To children†¦, the old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori (How sweet and fitting it is to die for your country) Both poems are from around the time of the First World War, Pro Patria was written just before the outbreak, written during the conflict. I believe that the stance taken by the authors stems from their experience of the war and the time at which they were written. Seaman did not and could not know what was to happen in the Great War, as it was yet to happen when he wrote the poem. Owen, on the other hand, had been at the front line, and had seen what he was writing about, and felt a need to tell others what he had seen, as opposed to Seaman who was writing for the government.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.