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The understand how they influence each poem’s

The poems, “To
Lucasta, on Going to the Wars” by Richard Lovelace, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred
Tennyson, “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred
Owen, and “The Song of the Mud” by Mary Borden, are all concerned with war.
However, each poem has a distinct representation of it. While the two authors,
Tennyson and Lovelace, glorify war by portraying it as honorable and
worthwhile, Borden and Owen view war as a destruction of mankind and show their
indignation and censure of war by depicting it as vile and gruesome in their
poems. This essay will examine and compare the diction and tone of each poem to
understand how they influence each poem’s underlying theme on war.


            In the 17th
century, poets mostly used romantic diction in their poems and that explains
the affection appeared in “To
Lucasta, on Going to the Wars.” Lovelace’s poem contains words such as “dear” and “sweet” that generate a light romantic
tone toward Richard’s beloved. Lovelace classifies going to war as a noble,
loyal and honorable act. Although he deeply loves his beloved, he asserts that
being glorious is more valuable: “Loved I not honor more.” Richard indirectly
requests his beloved to forgive him for his departure and to not think of him
as inconsiderate by stating “Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind.” Additionally, he
uses the lines “That from the nunnery / Of thy chaste breast, and quiet mind, /
To war and arms I fly” to display the sense of longing he has on fleeing to
battle and to emphasize his sacrifice of the serenity of her comfort to the
chaos of war. Furthermore, he demonstrates his commitment to war by personifying it as a lover, “a new mistress
now I chase,” and uses the word “faith” to refer to his devotion. Likewise,
Tennyson’s poem reveals the pride and commitment of the soldiers and claims
that the charge the soldiers made is honorable and noble as well. The lines, “Theirs not to make reply, / Theirs not
to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die,” show the readers how obediently the
soldiers are fulfilling their duty and not questioning their integrity. He uses
repetition to recreate the sound of battle and specifically repeats the phrase “rode the sixth hundred” to present the
unity of the soldiers. Moreover, Richard depicts the mayhem of war briefly in
order to reveal the soldiers’ courage which helps develop the overall heroic
tone – filled with power and excitement – of the poem.

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            On the
other hand, Wilfred Owen
and Mary Borden condemn war as a wasteful slaughter and describe the atrocities
of battle. In “The Song of the Mud,” Borden describes the major role mud plays
in war and reveals the huge impact it has as it covers the soldier, corpses,
clogs the machinery, and restricts the soldiers from their value.”of vile, incurable sores and innocent
tongues,” “a devil’s sick of sin,” the blood coming from “bitter as the cud,” and “obscene as cancer” are all examples of
imagery that help readers perceive the agony of war and fully express the
repugnancy to war. Moreover, Mary specifically uses evocative words such as “invincible,” “inexhaustible,”
“intrusive” and “impertinent” to illustrate the dreadful state of the fighters
due to the mud and to generate a powerful tone. Similarly, Owen used words such
as “guttering” and “froth-corrupted” to create that same tone as he described the gas attack he experienced and
the resentment he has of war in this last stanza. On top of that, both poems
contain irony to signify the opposite of what is said, set an ironic tone and
to bring forth the authors’ aversion to war indirectly. For example,”The Song
of the Mud” contains the line “covers
the hills like satin” which is pleasing and makes you feel at ease which
contradicts the fact that war is destructive and horrifying. Also, the word “song”
in the title gives readers a feeling of enjoyment when in fact, the poem emits
gloom. Owen’s main purpose of writing his poem was to expose “the old lie” which
is “Dulce Et Decorum est.” This lie says that it is sweet and honorable to die
for one’s country; the truth is that it is a waste of human life. Owen had
first-hand experience of the tragedies of World War I and wanted to destroy the
misinterpretation of it by portraying the reality of war. Yet this reality was
long kept from the knowledge of the civilians at home, who continued to write
about the noble pursuit of heroism.


            All poems
talk about war from distinct perspectives, different time periods and have
their own certain theme related to it. “To
Lucasta, on Going to the Wars” grounds the theme of love and devotion. Even
though “The Charge of the Light Brigade” doesn’t mention love, it still shares
the idea and theme of commitment and honor with Lovelace’s poem. In contrast, “Dulce et Decorum
Est” has a theme of suffering since the
author recalls his trauma and mentions his inability to get the image of his
dying comrade out of his head. In the same way, “The Song of the Mud” focuses on the
horrors of the ubiquitous trench mud. While poetry set one has a quite
optimistic and heroic tone, the second poetry set is more ironic and powerful
and revolves around sorrow and revulsion of war.


and Tennyson glorify war and believe that sacrifice and fighting for one’s country is virtuous. Contrastingly,
Borden and Owen loathe the idea of going to battle since they believe it is
dehumanizing and ghastly. The similarity between the two poetry sets is that
they are both centered on war and death, use diction to reinforce their point
of view and describe the experiences soldiers went through. In conclusion, the
analysis of diction and tone and diction helps readers understand the
underlying message in poetry and determine the author’s position regarding war.


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