Siegfried Sassoon Presentation

The following example is an essay about a presentation by Siegfried Sassoon. Read the introduction, body and conclusion of the essay, scroll down.

We are now going to talk about the theme and subject matter of the poem. This poem was influenced a lot over the past times of Siegfried Sassoon, during his childhood, and the time he spent in trenches of warfare. Siegfried was nicknamed as ‘the most innocent of war poets’, because of his childhood. Born as a Jew in 1886, he was born into a very wealthy family, and he took advantage of it.

Infact, he was very much the squire back then. He did everything rich people did back then, such as playing sports like fox hunting, croquet, cricket and golf, along with writing romantic verses in his free time.

No-body really knew why he signed up to join the war. Siegfried never showed signs of hatred towards the Japanese, Italians and Germans who we were fighting against.

No-body knew, that is, until he actually got into the trenches of France… Siegfried showed extremely passionate feelings during the war towards reality. Seeing all these people dying for their country’s glory hit home. When his friend David Thomas, and his much loved brother Hamo were killed at the battle of Gallipoli, he went berserk, almost as if he got shell-shock after it.

He earned a new nickname – ‘Mad Jack’, when he killed six people on his own just after, in a suicidal and ferocious attack of revenge on the Germans, who he entirely blamed for their deaths.

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 His protests against this war would almost certainly get Siegfried sent to prison, because of the unfair trials given to soldiers who wanted to rebel against the conditions then. Luckily, another friend, and fellow poet, Robert Graves, convinced a review board that he was suffering from shell-shock instead, so he was sent to a military hospital called Craiglockhart, where he could ‘recover’.

In here he could concentrate on his poems, including ‘Does it matter?’ He expressed his sheer anger through his poetry during this time by suddenly unleashing a talent for extreme irony. This irony sent a powerful message across to us, as Siegfried gave us a lot to think about. When he wrote angrily about the conditions everyone faced and how unfair this war was on some people, he asked us our views on what they faced. This was to uncover their lack of feelings towards their lives then. The main issues he wrote about were losing your legs, losing sight, and the awful and lonely conditions the soldiers faced in the trenches. This gave him a lot of respect from a lot of people, especially from Wilfred Owen, a very unknown poet then. This gave him the heart to carry on, because he realised that he must be a good poet for people to devote all their poetry towards him. That is how the poem, ‘Does it matter?’ was written

Use of language: We are now going to talk about the use of language in the poem. There are several factors, which contribute to make this an excellent poem. The main reason is the most obvious one, the rhetorical questioning he used at the start of every verse in the poem. This gives very strong views of the warfare then, because he dramatically asks us of our views. When he writes, for example, “Does it matter? – losing your legs?…,” he is actually asking us to show our emotion and true feeling, by striking us with a question which any human would reply with yes, and therefore telling them that this war would be wrong.

This rhetorical questioning also gives a dramatic effect to the poem, by pulling us into the poem and asking us questions about its purpose – the war. The other main factor of this poem is the tensing of the poem. You can see if you look carefully particularly at the second and third lines of each verse, that each verse has a particular tense – the future. This also contributes to the dramatic effect of the poem, by delving into the fact that it wont all be glory after the war has ended, and you have come away without your legs or sight, in fact, it will be exactly the opposite.

If you integrate these two uses of language together, you will find that Siegfried is actually asking us very powerful questions. Would we like it if we lost our legs and sight? Also would we like it if we had to spend all that time in those lonely and dangerous trenches, knowing at any second you could die? This gives a very powerful effect, by literally dragging us into their position, and demanding their true feeling for the war – “would we like to be in their position?”

Finally, another not so obvious point is the sympathy aspect. If you look at the third and fourth lines of the poem, you will notice that Siegfried is showing what everyone else will think to people wounded in war with sympathy. For example, in the third verse, Siegfried is taking a very dim view of what shallow people would think to wounded people in the war. By saying “For they’ll know that you’ve fought for your country”, he is saying on behalf of these people that it wouldn’t matter that your wounded, just as long as you fought in the war it wouldn’t matter if you died out there.

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Siegfried Sassoon Presentation. (2017, Nov 16). Retrieved from

Siegfried Sassoon Presentation
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