Compare Dulce et decorum est by Wilfred Owen, and Before Agincourt
by William Shakespeare.
Before Agincour and Dulce et decorum est
I have chosen to compare two poems for this piece of work, and they
are Dulce et decorum est by Wilfred Owen, and Before Agincourt by
William Shakespeare. Both look at War as the main subject, but express
very different views on it. Wilfred Owen has written a very powerful
poem about a man dying from a gas attack during the First World War,
whereas Shakespeare writes a rhetoric poem about the honour and pride
found in battle.
¡Dulce et decorum est¡, and ¡Before Agincourt¡ are two poems so
incredibly far away, in meaning, from each other, that it is very
difficult to compare them. The one big difference is their attitude
towards war. Wilfred Owen has actually been in a war. He saw what he
wrote about. He was there, as the writing is his thoughts and
feelings. Shakespeare wasn´t in the war he wrote about. He wrote
about it after it happened, either as a way to boost morale in England
at the time of the Spanish Armada for Queen Elizabeth, or because they
were his own views on War. This battle did actually happen, but Henry
didn´t say these words, Shakespeare just put them in his mouth.
Owen´s poem is concrete. It happened and was real. He knows what
he´s talking about because he was there and went through it all.
Shakespeare´s poem is airy. It´s abstract and doesn´t appear to
mean anything. At a first glance its just men talking, but when you
read it properly you see that it is far more than that. Henry believes
so much in what he´s saying that he´s prepared to die for it. It´s
a very spiritual poem, in that it is not earthed, or material. All
Henry wants is honour; he feels that that is the only thing worth
anything on this earth.
By jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
He thinks that honour and pride are worth dying for, and worth killing
for. He feels that the fewer the men who fight for England, then the
bigger the victory will be. He wants no cowards fighting for England,
Let he that hath no stomach for this fight,
Let him depart, his passport shall be made.
Henry is so adamant that honour is the best thing you could have, that
he even believes it will make him immortal
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it alone shall be remembered;
Wilfred Owen is not totally against war, but, as it says at the end of
the poem, the old lie:
Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori´ or
It is sweet and fitting
To die for your country
He is very angry about this lie that is being told to young children
and the citizens of England that are back at home, not fighting.
Wilfred Owen also believes in honour, and doing what you believe in.
He believes in telling all of England what...