Rupert Brooke The Soldier

Topics: MetaphorPoetry

This sample essay on Rupert Brooke The Soldier offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below.

Even though seems like one, ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke is not a war poem which stresses the hideousness of the war. Instead it is a patriotic poem, written on the way to the battle, which is a time when patriotism usually reaches the peak. The speaker, presumably the soldier, shows his eternal love to England, by personifying it as this protective, caring mother like figure.

Throughout the sonnet the extended metaphor of England as a mother develops, and it helps Brooke to show his love and patriotism evidently.

Definite article of ‘The’ in the title “The Soldier” shows us that the poem will be about a specific soldier, and it deceives the readers by making them think it is a war poem. The first line gives us much information about the sonnet and the narrator, as it clarifies the question marks created by the title; ‘If I should die, think only this of me’ ‘I’ and ‘me’ show that the reader is the soldier.

In addition to that, it also shows that the speaker is alive and he is about to make his last wish. In the following two lines, the ‘forever’ love for England is introduced for the first time.

“the Soldier” By Rupert Brooke

Besides, it indicates that the speaker is on his way to the war at a ‘foreign field’ which contains an alliteration of ‘f’ which draws attention to the idea of distant and strange place where he might not be welcomed, as foreign is a word with negative connotations such as, ‘strange’, ‘outlandish’ and ‘unfamiliar’.

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Subsequent lines demonstrate the building up of patriotism as the speaker starts to show the influence of his country on him as a person. ‘In what rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, Gave once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam’

These lines contain personification of England and some constant repetition to emphasize ideas. In the first line of those three lines, the repetition of ‘rich’ catches attention and shows the richness of English soil and Englishmen, as he is referring to himself in the phrase ‘richer dust. ‘ England, and everything related to her, is conveyed as this superior figure with the help of the comparative of the word ‘rich’ which already is a superior word only as a nominative. The extended metaphor of England as a mother to the speaker is first introduced here.

England ‘gives birth’ to him, ‘shapes’ him and ‘makes him aware’, in other words takes care of him and educates him, which is what mothers do. England has given the speaker everything he has and made him what he is, thus he feels like it is his duty to go protect his ‘mother’. He is also enthusiastic about the fact that he has the chance to give something back to his country after everything she gave him. Therefore, he sees the war as a good opportunity which illustrates the poet’s naivety towards the war which in reality is not a glorious situation.

The last two lines of the first stanza, some religious references are used to show that England is this holy figure in the speaker’s life. ‘A body of England’s, breathing English air, Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home. ‘ ‘Washed by the rivers’ and ‘blest by suns’ are strongly religious ideas. Washed and blest represent Christian baptism. Furthermore, ‘air’, ‘sun’ and ‘river’ represent the fundamental needs of life as well as being religious allusions. They are all granted to the speaker by England.

The continuing personification of England, is linked to the extended metaphor hence helps the poet build up the mother like figure he created. Furthermore the poet draws this idyllic picture of England by using superior and pleasant words such as ‘rich’, ‘river’, and ‘blest’. The previous repetition of England and its belongings such as ‘body of England’s’ and ‘English air’ also help the poet illustrate the idealistic picture. In the sestet, there are no negative words; instead it is filled with positive and warm words. There are no war images at all.

It focuses on the glory and honor of dying for one’s country; therefore it is optimistic about dying in a battle, while fighting for your country. The sestet commences with the word ‘And’ which reinforces the idea in the first line of the octet. The phrase ‘And think’ gives the idea that he is trying to convince the reader that what he believes in, which is fighting and dying for your country, is true. To verify this idea, he expresses that if one will die for his country, his heart will be purified, which means that in death he will be purified from all mortal sins.

Moreover, even though it’s jarring, the poet starts off the sentence with an ‘And’ which is used to create the impact of this ‘continuation’ idea as well as a link back to his original point which he makes at the beginning of the octet and gets ready to build his original point up. The continuation idea is related to the second line where he draws attention to the fact that even if he dies in the war, he will be remembered for what he has achieved and will keep on living as a heart beat in people’s thoughts and memories.

The last three lines, is where the sonnet becomes optimistic and calm. The poet achieves this mood by using positive words such as; ‘dreams’, ‘happy’, ‘laughter’, ‘friends’, ‘gentleness’, ‘hearts’, ‘peace’ and ‘heaven’. In addition to these optimistic words, the soft alliterations such as ‘s’ sound and other sounds such as ‘h’ and ‘f’ sounds which are steady and calm, are used to emphasize the natural beauties of England. There is also the sense of success in these final lines.

The poet is satisfied with the outcomes of the war, and doesn’t regret it at all. Instead, he is pleased with his current feelings which celebrate the glory of England. There are religious allusions in the last two lines, just like there is at the end of the first stanza. Such words as, ‘peace’ and ‘heaven’ are religious. The phrase ‘English heaven’ shows the reader that England is the holy side in this war. It also suggests that it s a good cause to side with England because then God will be on your side. Heaven’ is also a positive word which is linked to the general atmosphere of the war from the poet’s point of view. In addition, it indicates that soldiers who will die at a war, fighting for one’s country, will go to heaven. Throughout this sonnet, the sincere and genuine tone was kept by the poet. He has full belief in the ideas he puts forward and argues them enthusiastically. Extreme patriotism is highlighted in this sonnet. The whole sonnet has an extended metaphor of England as the mother of the speaker.

She gave life to him, brought him up, and educated him. She provided him with the crucial needs of life and helped him survive like a mother would help her son. Because England was a mother to the speaker and she took care of him when he was young, he feels that it is his duty to protect England, his mother. Finally, to elucidate his message and his statement, Brooke chooses an unusual structure. Even though this piece is a sonnet there are no couplets, but it includes an octet and a sestet.

The difference between them is that in the first stanza, the soldier describes his last will on his way to the war. The second stanza takes place in the future when he is dead and he describes what presumably will happen after he’s gone. The traditional attitude, which is getting all patriotic about the war without questioning its causes and effects like this specific soldier, and the contrast in this stanza, is even though he dies, which is supposed to be a mournful event, to him it is something to be proud of, some sort of success and something which was crucial to accomplish.

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Rupert Brooke The Soldier. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Rupert Brooke The Soldier
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