Analyse the poems “France” and “dulce et decorum est” Compare the meanings, themes, attitudes, format and language of the two poems bringing out the similarities and differences between the two poems. Use quotations to support your answers.
These two poems were both written in the First World War but at very different times as the mood of the poems change dramatically. E.g. “France” was written in the very early stages of the war where the mood was very optimistic and victorious. “Dulce” was written by a poet that experienced what actually happened in the later stages of the war when the mood was very unpleasant and dismal.
The poem “France” is about beautiful green trees and fields in France itself as most of the war was fought in France. This is a very optimistic poem, “She triumphs, in the vivid green” would show the optimism in the poem already in the first line, “vivid green” would describe the beautiful green countryside of France where you can imagine looking out of the trenches and being able to see for miles. However, in the poem “Dulce”, the soldiers are described in the first line as, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks”, as to say that they were carrying great big heavy bags -sacks- which would make them bend double due to the weight. In these two poems, the first line of each poem puts the picture across straight away.
Both poets experienced the same war, but wrote their poems at completely different times of the war, therefore the attitudes were also very different. Seigfreid Sasoon wrote his poem at the very early stages of the war; therefore, he had a very optimistic approach to the war, with the ideas of triumph, beautiful landscapes, upholding British traditions e.g. Cricket, and that god was on their side. Wilfred Owen wrote his poem at the later stages of the war when the mood was very dismal and gory, he describes the war as very nasty, being deaf to the hoots of gas-shells dropping, lame, blood-shod, blind, drunk, haunting flares, cursing through sludge, and the idea that this was so horrid that even the devil would be sick of the things that were going on in the war.
Both poets have used high-powered metaphors and similes to describe landscapes, images, actions, sounds, views and almost anything that was involved in World War One. In the poem “France”, “crowned by cloud pavilions white”, showing the upholding of British traditions and how beautifully white the clouds were, “where sun and quivering foliage meet”, this would have been written to describe the beautifully clear skies and forests of France itself. “A breeze of silver sheen” describing the beautiful rays of sunlight. On the other hand, “Dulce” is very dismal and gory, using metaphors and similes to bring these emotions out. “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks” shows part of the exhaustion that they were suffering from, “coughing like hags” shows that they were all ill with chesty coughs. “Men marched asleep” shows that the men were very tired, walking around like zombies. “His hanging face, like the devils sick of sin” this is to say that even the devil would be sick at the sight of what was happening.
The two poems were put together very differently “France” being very straightforward and easy to follow with methods such as enjambement and rhyming couplets, whilst “Dulce” is a very disjointed poem that contains all types of methods, such as: similes, metaphors, caesuras, rhyming couplets, and oxymoron. There is also feeling of struggling and drama as “an
Richard Banks 10E4
Ecstasy of fumbling”, pain, paradox, and also ironic.
Both these poems have completely different approaches to the war, as they are set in different times of the war and therefore have different attitudes towards it. Also the last line of each poem has an effect on the whole poem, in “France”, “Voices of victory and delight” meaning that it is a privilege to fight, die, and win the war for your country, whereas in “Dulce”, “The old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori”, meaning, it is sweet and fitting to for ones country. To me, they both end with almost the same line, with the same approach, very ironic and deep, from the heart.
“Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori”