“War some people believe in what war

“War is what happens when language fails” said Margaret Atwood.
Throughout history and beyond, war has been contemplated differently form one
nation to another, or even, one person to another. While some people believe in
what war stands for, which is the “resolution” to all conflicts between
countries or groups of people, others don’t understand the wasteful purpose of
it. Young men who are sent off to war want to believe in their cause, they want
to feel the value and worth of their lives, but sadly enough, they end up
losing them. Yet, they still go to war not to die for their country, but hope
the enemy does. In times of war, men leave their families behind to serve their
country, but if these soldiers die, and the children back home die of poverty
or sickness, who’s left? In fact, only 20% of the males born in the Soviet
Union in 1923 survived the war. This essay compares and contrasts the two
poetry sets and how the poets in each set view war through tone and diction.
Tone develops the mood the writer wants their audience to convey through their
choice of words, or diction, to further deliver the main theme or message of
the story.

Why would anyone go to war willingly or voluntarily? Maybe praise,
honor, protection of loved ones, sacrifice, or anything in that manner. In the
first poetry set, the general theme is the glorification of war. The
environment, the atmosphere, the ongoing events, and even the poets’
backgrounds all influence their writing and attitude toward said topic or idea.
The first poetry set takes place from the 1600s to the 1800s during the English
Civil War and the Battle of Balaclava. The first poem, “To Lucasta, on Going to
the Wars,” written by Richard Lovelace, is a lyrical poem that illustrates a
playful and romantic tone. Lovelace’s background shaped his stance on war; his
father died at arms and he himself served with the French Army during the
English Civil War. However, his Royalist sympathies lost him his fortune and he
died in poverty. He begins with the line “tell me not, sweet, I am unkind,”
whose tone and use of words foreshadow bad news. When addressing Lucasta
throughout the rest of the poem, he proclaims his feelings towards her through
diction such as embrace, adore, sweet, dear, and honor. And other words like
“nunnery” and “chaste breast.” His choice of words balances out the cruelty
behind his actions and his love for his mistress. The deeper the reader tries
to go into the meaning of the poem, the clearer he/she understands that Richard
simply loves the honor that comes with being a soldier, the thrill that comes
with facing “the first foe in the field,” and the sacrifice he makes for his
loved ones.

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In the second poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” written by
Lord Tennyson, the poet doesn’t necessarily appreciate the loss of war, but
thinks it’s honorable to die for your country. Through the usage of repetition,
alliteration, and diction, Tennyson emphasizes on honoring the fallen: “the
noble six hundred,” “honor the charge they made,” “hero,” “boldly,” etc. He also
believes in the soldiers’ unquestioning obedience to their commanders’ orders,
“theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.” His use of repetition
quite often draws attention on his employment of terminology, like honor for
example. It also highlights on the tone of speech, valor and bravery, it
illustrates a time and a generation to be proud of. “When can their glory
fade?” demonstrates the tone and feeling of sadness and despair towards the
loss of the soldiers. Tennyson also makes use of expressions like “volleyed and
thundered” to help the reader further visualize the scene of the battle. In the
end, every soldier knows what they’re walking into: “Into the valley of death.”

 

In contrast, the second poetry set criticizes the idea of war and
finds it disgusting and wasteful. “War with all its glorification of brute
force is essentially a degrading thing,” claims Mahatma Gandhi. Both poems take
place during the first World War, and since the ratio of innocent civilians
killed in war has grown progressively since 1914, literature wasn’t exactly a
fan of its consequences or grounds. In the first poem, “the Song of the Mud,”
written by Mary Borden, the poet uses irony and imagery to transmit her
perspective on war. Upon reading it, it sounds like a lyrical poem that
contains one too many descriptions that might sound or appear to be nice and
friendly, hence the name “song,” but is the exact opposite. The phrases used to
put irony into effect, like “he has set a new style of clothing; he has a set
new style of chic,” ironically describe the ways in which the mud covers
everything in battle, including corpses, weapons, machinery, and warriors. The
underlying meaning is that the mud covers the destruction of war, the same way
governments do. The tone of Borden is ironic and sarcastic. She uses words like
chic, ermine and satin to contrast words like putrid, monstrous, impertinent,
and obscene. “Mud, the disguise of the war zone,” sums up her standpoint on
war; death is inevitable.

Lastly, Wilfred Owen was once a British schoolboy who grew up
believing poet Horace’s “Dulce et Decorum Est pro patria mori:” it is sweet and
honorable to die for one’s country. When he left for war himself, he was soon
sent back due to shell and shock, war wasn’t for him. In his poem, he uses
words like fumbling, drowning, stumbling – which rhyme – to project a scene in
battle that left him forever traumatized. The irony in this poem shows through
the way it’s said, and what it really means. During the gas attack, he uses the
phrase “An ecstasy of fumbling,” which sounds completely out of place, but
actually isn’t. This is an example of the irony he uses in his poem; he’s
combining elevated language with chaos to throw it completely off proportion.
He describes the war as obscene, cancer, and vile, in hopes of delivering his
idea of war to anyone who’s been lied to. His tone is one to sympathize with.
He and Lovelace share distinctly different viewpoints of honor.

The only similarity between the two sets of poems is the fact that
they both talk about war, and were written during times of war. Because during
those times, war was the only talk of town.

In conclusion, both sets of poems use strong diction that helps
develop the tone to strengthen their outlook on war, whether they fought,
nursed, or lost any loved ones. The sets compete on whether it’s heroic and
noble to die for one’s country, even if they don’t believe in the cause of war
itself. Does war make one a hero? According to these poets, the answer can vary
from one person to another.