Different Attitudes to War in Post-1914 War Poetry
Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen are poets who fought for England in the
First World War. Both poets depict the same topic of war, but through
different views and opinions. Despite them pertaining to the similarly
themed subject, their language and tone invoke contrasting feelings in
readers and affects their impression of war in opposite ways. Examples
of these differences can be seen in the two poems by Rupert Brook 'The
Dead (iii) and 'The Soldier' and two by Wilfred Owen 'Anthem for
Doomed Youth' and 'Dulce etDecorum Est'.
Rupert Brooke writes 'The Dead (iii)' in an extremely relaxed and
romantic mood.Brooke had not experienced war, so with this in mind the
poem seems very clear and concise. Brooke aims to show us the glory
that is brought about by dying for your country. He thinks that war is
a simple and dignified cause. He aims to make us more patriotic and
convince us to die for our country in war.
The first line is very energetic and joyous for a horrendous subject
such as war. This may mean that Brooke tries to symbolise enthusiasm
and glory. Since bugles are used at a grand occasion, but also
militarily charges and retreats he may be trying to indicate that
dying for your country is a glorious way to end your life.
"Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!"
As he says, it has made them 'rich'. This probably means that they are
wealthy with glory, praise and admiration. He makes no mention of the
pain and suffering in war. The third line explains that dying has
again made them important.
But, dying has made us rarer gifts than gold.
Gold is very rare, so by dying they have been them valuable and
unique. Brooke is trying to signify that not many people sacrifice
their lives this way. This in Brooke's belief is a very honourable and
glorious practice. The sestet explains to us how the soldiers dying
bring Englanda lot of honour and credibility.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
The peace that has been present for so long has made her weak.
'Heritage' is use to clearly link with the overall theme of 'payment
and reward'. It implies 'that which is rightfully theirs', has been
And we have come into our heritage.
In 'The Soldier', Brooke feels content to die for his motherland to
protect the people left behind. The title conveys a sense of pride and
loyalty to the reader. Although fully aware of the possibility of
death, indicated by the line
'If I should die', think only this of me:'
Even if his ashes, his 'richer earth', were to lie in a land distant
from England, his love would still be 'forever'. This is further
stressed when his relationship is compared to the bond between mother