The Charge of the Light Brigade and Ducle et Decorum Est

January 20, 2014
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War is an organized effort by a government or other large organization to stop or defeat something that is viewed as dangerous or bad. It is generally described by extreme violence, social disruption, economic destruction, and death. “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “Dulce et Decorum Est” were written through the eyes of two different people. They each have different perceptions of war, one leaning more to the side of bravery and the other describes a more tragic and death side. Through the use of literary devices used in these poems the author’s show two different wars, but the same tragic outcome; death.

In “Dulce et Decorum Est” the tone of the poem is tragic, acerbic, and depressing. The author shows the death of the “innocent tongues” (24) when he states, “the guttering, choking, and drowning.” (16) This quote explains how there is death and pain surrounding the author. In “The Charge of the Light Brigade” the poem displays a proud and exhilarating tone. The soldiers all ride into the “valley of Death.” (7) The soldiers “not to reason why” (14), but bravely ride into battle. There is an inevitable repetition of death; the six hundred are battling against “cannons to the right of them, cannons to the left of them, cannons in front of them” (17-20). The poet believed that they fought bravely and for glory, but the commander made a mistake sending the “six hundred” (16) into the “mouth of hell” (25). The tones of the poems differ because one shows the bitterness and the truth, while the other shows the glory that comes with the soldiers when they fight.

In Dulce et Decorum Est the poem is a narrative because it is highly descriptive and it shows the real truth and misery that follows war. The poet also uses alliteration to describe the agony of the gas; “watch the white eyes writhing in his face,” (20). The mustard gas that they used brought great pain to anyone who breathed it. In The Charge of the Light Brigade the author uses personification to prove how horrible the place that the noble six hundred were riding into; “the jaws of death.” (24) This quote implies that they were riding straight into death’s palace, where they were soon going to die. The poet in Dulce et Decorum Est uses a rhyme scheme that consists of ABAB to show the repetition of marching steps. The poet states, “Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,” (5) to show that even if they were missing a limb they continued to march on. By using literary devices the poets show different images of war.

In both The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dulce et Decorum Est the poets write about war and shows the death that is brought by it. In The Charge of the Light Brigade death is presented as a heroic event; “Honour the charge they made! Honour the light brigade, the noble six hundred” (2. 15-17). By honoring the soldiers it shows that they did a very heroic and glorifying thing, charging their opponents even if they lost the war and died. In Dulce et Decorum Est death is presented as horrible, ugly, and miserable. The poet uses irony to show, “The old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. Death is the ugly truth that usually follows war and the two poets use death to show two different representations of war.

The war poems, Dulce et Decorum Est and The Charge of the Light Brigade represent two different wars that show a two different tones. The poet who wrote Dulce et Decorum Est uses alliteration and a rhyme pattern to show how horrible war is. In The Charge of the Light Brigade the poet uses metaphors to show how the noble six hundred were riding straight into deaths mouth. The poets use literary devices to show death.

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