Wilfred Owen And Alfred Tennyson 

Attitudes to war and how they Developed Wilfred Owen and Alfred Lord Tennyson
both wrote well known poetry about war. Their poems were written in different
centuries and they clearly illustrate the changing attitude to war These three
poems are all describing the ups and downs of war. The one author saying how war
is such a great thing and how brave the soldiers were. The other author saying
how terrible war is, illustrating the death and injuries. In Tennyson’s poem,
because it was written earlier than the two poems by Owen, he describes more the
glory and heroism of war, rather than the death and stupidity. All three poems
make you feel pity, even if it may be accidental, which I feel it is in
Tennyson’s ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ Let us look at Tennyson’s
poem, he starts by using repetition. This is a good start as you feel the beat
of the hooves of the soldiers’ horses and this continues through the whole
poem. ‘Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward.’ Not only do you
instantly feel the beat, but from the next line you feel you know a lot about
the story line. ‘All in the valley of death, Rode the six hundred.’ This is
repeated at the end of the verse, which I feel is very effective, as I feel it
emphasises the fact of the unbalanced odds and the soldiers’ imminent doom,
which of course makes you pity them. The second verse tells how the soldiers
were so loyal to their country, that even though they knew they were in mortal
danger, they didn’t question their superiors. The first line in this verse, is
an order by the commander that suggests confidence in the troops. ‘Forward the
light brigade!’ Further on in the verse repetition is used which illustrates
the soldiers’ bravery and again their respect for their superiors.
‘Theirs’ not to make reply, Theirs’ not to reason why, Theirs’ but to do
and die.’ In the third verse Tennyson again uses repetition describing the
deadly position they were in. ‘Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left
of them, Cannon in front of them’ This helps you understand what they were
facing during this battle and how impossible their fight was. It makes you feel
pity for the six hundred soldiers. In this verse Tennyson glories in the
soldiers’ bravery, saying: ‘Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of
death, Into the mouth of hell’ This means that by taking this mission they
were practically committing suicide and it also, again, makes you feel sorry for
the soldiers. The forth verse tells, briefly, the story of the actual battle and
how despite the odds the soldiers still attacked and made progress against the
enemy. ‘Flashed all their sabres bare, Flashed as they turned in the air,
Sabring the gunners there’ Here he again uses repetition; I feel this time it
emphasises the bravery of the soldiers still attacking a helpless cause.
Tennyson expresses the helpless cause further on the verse: ‘Charging an army,
while All the world wondered’ At the start of the fifth verse he again uses
repetition to describe their position. ‘Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to
the left of them, Cannon in front of them’ In this verse he again tries to
show their bravery, with phrases like ‘While horse and hero fell’ and
‘They had fought so well.’ The sixth verse is a conclusion, commenting on
the loyalty and bravery of the soldiers and how it was a tragic loss of life.
‘When can their glory fade, O, the wild charge they made’ And he continues:
‘Honour the charge they made, Honour the light brigade, Noble six hundred’
In ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ Wilfred Owen tells a story of a death in the
trenches from the memory of another soldier. It starts by describing the
terrible state the soldiers were in, demonstrating against war. ‘Bent double,
like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like old hags, We cursed
through sludge’ A few lines down, it says; ‘Men marched asleep.’ And
another similar line; ‘Drunk with fatigue.’ This is saying how tired the
soldiers were and how badly they were being worked. The next verse starts with
panic: ‘Gas! Gas! Quick boys, An ecstasy of fumbling’ This verse explains
the gas attack, the panic and the death of the unnamed victim. ‘And
flound’ring like in fire or lime… Dim, through the misty planes and thick
green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning’ In