How the Poets You Have Studied Convey the Horrors of War

War. Without it literature would not be the same. War in poetry expresses emotions felt by society and the people it leaves behind. War can turn strong young men into withered, haggard and depressed specimen of a human being. Poetry conveys and unwraps the horrors of war. When I think of war I think of depression death, honour and duty. Many people are affected by these things everyday. The Crimean war between 1854 and 1856 in Balaclava was between the Russian and Turkish forces. During that time Turkey was part of the British Empire which resulted in Britain have to fight alongside Turkey as an allie.

The Russians were in top of the hill at the battle scene with cannons pointing downwards. The British entered and had no chance in surviving. The commanding officers had made a huge mistake that day. Tennyson’s poem ‘The Charge Of The Light Brigade ‘is a testament of how many men were killed ‘then they rode back but not the six hundred’. Tennyson does not comment or whether war is right or wrong he just merely informs us of the devastation ‘into the valley of death’. ‘Rode the six hundred’ is repeated in one verse twice.

This emphasises the quantity of men in the battle from the beginning of the poem. This line is repeated the whole way through the poem but changes after the fourth verse to ‘not the six hundred’. This is reflective of the chaos at battle. The repetition creates the rhythm of horse’s hooves galloping which produces imagery. The rhyming scheme, which develops the sound of cannon fire, is also changed in the fourth verse this as well symbolises the chaos happening at the war scene. ‘Drummer Hodge’ by Thomas Hardy deals with the aftermath of the Boer war, between 1899 and 1902.

The war happened in South Africa where the Dutch settled first because of all the gold mines. At this time part of South Africa belonged to the British Empire. Fighting broke out over who would control the mines. The rhythm in ‘Drummer Hodge’ creates imagery and the sound of a drum being beaten this is comparable to ‘The Charge Of The Light Brigade’ similar to the cannon fire and hooves of horses. The subject matter of ‘Drummer Hodge’ is that a young, Wessex lad that did not understand the concept of war has gone to fight and has been killed in a foreign country.

His homley Northern breast and brain’ is reinforcing the fact that he is in a foreign country. Also ‘strange-eyed constellations reign’ tells us that he is alone in an unknown destination. ‘Drummer Hodge’ also deals with the lack of respect given to the poor, naive soldiers. ‘Uncoffined – just as found’ symbolises the lack of respect because the soldiers have not even been buried they are still just laying where they fell. Likewise, lack of respect is also developed in Wilfred Owens poem ‘Ducle Et Decorum Est ‘. It is based on a gas attack in the second world war.

World war two between 1915 and 1918 was between the German and British forces. It is one of the most horrific wars in history. Owen himself fought in the trenches and the gas attack that is used is a first person experience. Due to the fact that it is a personal account the poem does not hold back the sickening picture made by the use of diction. ‘Beggars’ shows that there is no honour or respect given to the soldiers in this poem because they are compared to tramps.

Owen writes his poem ‘Ducle Et Decorum Est ‘in response to Jessie Popes poem ‘Who’s For The Game? . Popes poem is a piece of propaganda used to encourage young men to join the war. Pope includes the theme of football so that her audience is aware of the lack of men willing to fight. The use of football terms ‘tackle’ refers back to the audience which is young, working class men. Also the fact that she uses the word ‘lad’ informs us that she is talking directly to the audience. This complete contrast to ‘Charge Of The Light Brigade’, ‘Ducle Et Decorum Est’ and ‘Drummer Hodge’ as these show the true horrors of war unlike Pope who tries to make it into a game.

The title of the poem ‘Who’s For The Game ‘is a rhetorical question. Pope’s intention of the question is to make the audience think about what is being said throughout the poem. In the same way as Pope’s ‘Who’s For The Game? ‘ Sassoon’s ‘Does It Matter? ‘ is also a rhetorical question title. Likewise, Sassoon’s poem is used to convince men not to go to war ‘losing your legs’. Unlike Pope’s poem, which is a piece of propaganda to encourage young men to go and join the army and fight for their country.