The word war to many people conjures up images of death and destruction and this is shown in the two poems, ‘Dulce et decorum est’ and ‘Disabled’. Wilfred Owen, who was a solider and experienced war first hand, wrote both of the poems, he did this from personal experience. In Both poems a negative view is portrayed, by describing the pain, suffering and the general consequences of war. The message he is trying to put across by writing these poems is that war is bloody, a waste of life and may leave you in a horrific state. The aim of the poet is to warn people of what war is all about: mainly death.

On the other hand, war can also be shown as being honourable, heroic and patriotic, we know this from the poems ‘The Volunteer’ and ‘In Flanders Fields’. The poem ‘The Volunteer’ was written by a man called Herbert Asquith who was a politician and his aim was to get people to sign up and volunteer them selves to go to war, so his poem gives off a positive view of war. Herbert Asquith, in his poem, says that you will become a hero if you go to war and although you may die it is worthwhile because your country will be proud.

These words create the positive view that Herbert Asquith was aiming for. A Canadian called John McCrae is the author of the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. John was a military medical officer and viewed war from the sidelines and got a positive view from what he saw. His message is to other soldiers to tell them they must be brave and fight with pride or the soldiers who died previously will feel they have wasted their lives fighting. The poems differ a lot from each other as they create different images of war and disagree with each other.

Two of the poems mention the good side of war, whereas the other two, shows the bad side of war. All four poems represent the truth in one way or another as War has many truths. The authors of the four poems are motivated by their different relevant experiences of the things they were doing during the war. Owens’ experiences on the front line in the battlefield influenced him to write the poem ‘Disabled’ as he witnessed the many casualties of war, also his poem ‘Dulce et decorum est’ describes the horrific conditions soldiers had to live and fight under during the war.

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Asquith, not being a solider himself, but a politician didn’t really understand what it would be like to experience war but it was his duty to persuade people to sign up and therefore this influenced his poem. John McCrae was only a medical officer but he saw the pain and suffering of the soldiers. He took this to be a good sign as it shows a result of being brave and fighting for your country. Wilfred Owen in both his poems wants the readers to feel moved by the message they portray and does this by using emotive language and emphasis.

Owen also hopes that his poem will make people consider the consequences of war before volunteering. On the opposite side, Herbert Asquith wants the readers to be taken in by his poem, which describes being in the army as essential and honourable, something that Owen does not appear to agree on. John McCrae makes the readers feel mournful for those who died but also that they died as a duty to their country. The structures and tones of these poems are different. “In Flanders Fields” is concise but to the point.

Whereas “Disabled” and “Dulce et Decorum est” are long and descriptive, the tone of these two poems is very serious, depressing and shocking. “The Volunteer” is short and persuasive. All of the poems have strong description of war and create powerful images, whether they are good or bad. From the two poems “disabled” and “Dulce et Decorum est” we can get images of bloody deaths and horrific consequences. “Disabled” tells us about a young man who went to war to serve his country, became a hero but suffered severely from it; He ended up in a wheel chair and has no future ahead of him.

Dulce et Decorum est” however describes war conditions in detail and paints a dreadful picture in our heads, using description such as “the froth-corrupted lungs” and “blood-shod”. Death is discussed in all 4 poems, but more evidently in Wilfred Owens’ work. In “the Volunteer” Herbert Asquith tells of man who is dull and seems to carry out the same duties day after day “Half his life had spent toiling”. Asquith then goes on to describe the glorious lifestyle of the man when he as became a soldier, implying that joining the army is a way of escaping a dull and boring life.

In this poem and “In Flanders Fields” death is described in a soft way by using the word “falling” and terms such as “now we lie”. Emotions run high in all of the poems, contrasting happiness and fear. I agree with Owen’s view on war, it is dreadful and a waste of time. There are more consequences than you can imagine, why put yourself through War, the glory is minimum. “The Volunteer” is a reflection of my down side of war, as I don’t think people should be encouraged to go to war, although I do understand that people have to fight for their country.


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