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Tennyson vs. Owen Poetry


The Odin and Tennyson poems were written In a time far previous to the World War 1 poems written by Wilfred Owen. Odin was known as the chief god In the Norse pantheon. In his poem translation from The Havana, a 13th century part of the Poetic Dead, Odin talks about the disgrace he has for a man who would rather live a long life than die ;n battle. He voices his thoughts of someone holding back In battle as a coward and a fool, for he will never reach a sense of peace in his old age because of the mental weight lack of effort in battle will bestow.

He says, “… But in old age he shall have no peace, though spears have spared his limbs. ” He also addresses that his life is essentially meaningless if he holds back in war and refused a death to his country. He measures the glory of dying in battle and the positive weight of the name carried by the dead due to battle as a worthy if not logical alternative to continuing a life of normalcy. “But the good name never dies of one who has done well… But I know one thing that never dies the glory of the great dead. To him, a death in war will far outlive a life salvaged due to fear and lack of aggression. Alfred Lord Tennyson poem “Charge of the Light Brigade” echoes the same ideology of Odin in that the sacrifice of dead soldiers should be celebrated and honored. In his case, he is speaking of British cavalrymen who charged Russian artillery installations during the Battle of Balaclava in 1854. In his poem, he repetitively uses the phrase ‘rode the six hundred’ in order to paint a glorified picture of camaraderie, bravery, nobleness, and fearlessness.

He speaks of their death in honor, as they continued to ride and fight into a situation of almost inevitable doom. “Cannon to right… Left… In front of them. Volleyed and thundered; Storm’s at with shot and shell, Boldly they rode and well, Into the Jaws of Death… The mouth of Hell, Rode the six hundred. ” He ends the poem noting that what was left of the six hundred returned, but to honor the noble riders of the six hundred that did not. Poems written by Wilfred Owen In the WWW era took on a completely deferent philosophy towards the death of soldiers.

In a poem titled “Dulcet et Decorum est.”, he paints a picture with excruciating detail the slow death of a man In battle, and how he has a false sense of glory and how the way he was treated once sole left the body was nothing close to honorable, but a normal burden. There was nothing glorified or noble about his death. “Behind the wagon we flung him In… And watch the white eyes writhing… Hills hanging face, Like a devil’s sick of SSL… The blood come gargling from the forth-corrupted lungs bitter as the cud of vile sores… E old lie: Dulcet et decorum est. message of Odin and Tennyson poems is nothing short of an ancient lie, claiming there to be no glory in death of battle. He goes even further to say in the last moments of a soldier’s life, even he realizes there will be no glory in his death, as he exemplifies in his poem “The End” when he is writing as a dying soldier progressing through his last thoughts, saying, “It is death. Mine ancient scars shall not be glorified nor my titanic tears the seas be dried. ” To Wilfred Owen, a false sense of glory, a manipulative lie, is realized to be fallacy when death in war does occur.

The theme of the poems written by Odin and Alfred Lord Tennyson that a death in battle should be considered a noble death and will forever be recognized with magnificence is acknowledged by Wilfred Owen as delusion. The counterpoint of avoiding death in war is considered to Odin and Tennyson as shameful and cowardly. To Wilfred Owen, it is common-sense. The ideologies of war presented by Odin and Tennyson compared to that of Owen are polar opposites, the other’s ideology being nothing less than misguided.