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    Comparison between Dulce et decorum est and Rendezvous Essay

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    Dulce et decorum est” is a poem about the horror and deception of war. “Rendezvous” is a poem about the honor, gratitude and patriotism of fighting a war. “Rendezvous” is also with reference to the inevitability of death at war. Wilfred Owen wrote “Dulce ET decorum EST” in 1917, he joined the British army in 1915, and he is considered a patriot and despises war. Alan Seeger who joined the French foreign legion in 1914 wrote “Rendezvous” in 1915.

    He was very passionate about the war and he appears to have a neutral outlook towards war whereas Wilfred Owen has an opposite view. “Rendezvous” is a poem in relation to Alan Seeger’s inevitable death at war and how he may avoid this fate. However he then returns to facing his reality by realizing he must accept it. I believe Seeger’s view on war to be positive mainly because the way explains the death being scary and horrid but also honorable and gratifying shows contradiction in his points.

    This is evident in such lines as “I have a rendezvous with death” this shows that even though he foresees his death he baldly takes the challenge of fighting a war for a reason he sees as honorable. Also in lines such as “god knows t’were better to be deep down pillowed in silk and scented down ” this line shows regret for his choice of going to war and contradicts the line I have just stated. The poems contain a theme of death contrasting with life.

    A normal life cycle runs through four seasons autumn, winter, spring, summer and Alan seeger says his life will end in the winter which is dark and gloomy kind of like hell the line of “at midnight in some flaming town, when spring trips north again this year” shows the relevance of his writing in contrast to hell and he will not see a new spring which is tranquil and warm with new life beginning again. In contrast, he will be in a dark land because spring trips north making it the uppermost point on the compass, and to far above him to reach, too distant, as he veers toward a different direction in keeping his oath.

    There is a theme of breath, being symbolized as fullness of life in spring. ‘Pulse nigh to pulse and breath to breath’. Whereas he speaks of his own breath being quenched in the second verse, the third line. There is a theme of lovers contrasted with Springtime, pillowed and scented down, describing the perfume of flowers in spring to the perfume of a lover, where love throbs out in blissful sleep, pulse to pulse, implies a very close person laying near, whereby you can hear them breath and the sound of there heart beat, two people in a bed with an pillow and down, down being an old fashioned word for ‘quilt’.

    This theme of lovers is continued with where hushed awakenings are dear, the serenity of waking up calm and warm with someone next to you and by your side, the stark contrast is that he holds a hand too, he is in close relationship with his hand being taken into a dark land, by someone else, possibly God, the pronoun ‘he’ being chosen rather than the name God, in ‘he shall take my hand.

    His eyes closing into sleep with this partner, who could also take his breath away, rather than breath along with him, and in other words closely identify with his life in its most basic sense of breathing, and existing. The theme of battle is taken up in lines such as ‘on some scarred slope of battered hill’, scars being representative of having fought, and been injured. Slope represents downward descent and being brought down, and of course the word battered which is a clear term of battle. At some disputed barricade’ again describes battle, the word dispute exemplifying cause for disagreement, barricade exemplifying the inability to get passed or through something, the inability to have overcome the fight and move onwards from it. Could be interpreted as doubt, as to whether there will be any victory, from the writer’s point of view. He is facing that there may not be, and that he could be appointed to die in war. Seeger’s view of war is that it could be inevitable, and therefore he should square with this reality.

    He has misgivings about wanting life in some way, as he states God knows t’were better to be deep pillowed in silk, and scented down”, and he lingers on the thought of life and love and peace and harmony, but resolves that he will keep his pledge and be true, this is the essence of honor ‘maintaining allegiance’. Seeger also continues the theme of battle in the last verse on the seventh line ‘in some flaming town’, the flames referring to towns being burned up through bombing. Seeger talks about midnight as a particular point in the darkest of nighttime hours, in keeping with his assimilation with death.

    The place in which death would occur is flaming, out of control, full of danger, burning up and ending in ashes. Ultimately Seegar’s view of war is darkness and defeat rather than victory, overcoming and capability in seeing things through competently. However even in the face of defeat there is commitment to the cause, which shows he felt the war was right and therefore he was resolved in this commitment to follow through with his life unto death.

    ” I shall not fail that rendezvous” to quote from the last line of the poem. Dulce et decorum est” is about the horror and deceit kept a secret from those young men who signed themselves up in patriotism and love for there family. Wilfred Owen has a negative outlook on war in my conclusion because of such sarcastic and contradicting quotes as “Dulce et decorum est pro patria more” meaning: it is a sweet and fitting thing to die for your country. However from reading the whole poem you see Owens horrific memories and terrifying tales really contradict this line which I assume was said to them by there general or someone of high importance in the army.

    This is also shown in the great detail and use of metaphors and similes to strengthen his views which he expresses when highlighting the suffer and discomfort the soldiers were put through. Which is shown in the line “someone still was yelling out and stumbling and floundering like a man in fire or lime, dim through the misty panes and thick green light, as under a green sea, I saw him drowning” this I feel is his deepest and most emotionally expressed line in the poem, where he describes his friends death in a gas attack.

    The main theme of this poem is futility of war but there are others such as excessive death this is very much announced fact of ww1 because millions of young men died excessively this point is put across in lines such as “my friend you wouldn’t tell with such high zest the old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” this is saying the army or anyone else had no right to tell vulnerable children that it is sweet and fitting to die for your country. Wilfred Owen uses linguistic devices to build momentum and to add power to his poems.

    This can be seen in such lines as ” if in some smothering dreams you too could place behind the wagon that we flung him in and watch the white eyes writhing in his face, his hanging face, like a devil sick of sin; if you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as cud of vile incurable sores on innocent tongues” this quote holds lots of similes and adjectives these are examples of the linguistic techniques I mentioned earlier and these add power and help the imagination to run wild, building a better understanding of his fear, loss, sadness and most of all his scared memory.

    Owen also talks about gas from a bomb being a green sea when we clearly know that gas is not a liquid this technique is called a metaphor this helps me to imagine the picture he was seeing of his friend drowning from the gas and struggling because there is no way out as if he were trapped out at sea. So even though gas cannot literally be a liquid the description still has relevance to the point.

    Owen also use similes which is when you describe something to like something else Owen uses these in line such as “bent double, like old beggars” and “coughing like hags” he saying what they were coughing like and bent like to help you understand how he presently sees himself and his fellow soldiers. Onomatopoeia is another technique shown in the line “he plunges at me guttering, chocking, drowning” this says guttering, which is the noise he is making, but also the word used to describe how he was plunging.

    The structure of both of the poems is quite orderly but Wilfred Owen has got a more recognized structure in that he uses an a-b rhyme scheme and that Alan seeger uses a scheme of rhyming the 1st 2 and last 2 lines. This has no technical name. In a regular rhyme scheme there is 3 stanzas and so is there in both of these poems. The rhythm of Owens poem appears to create a little disorder but in other places the opposite and in seeger”s poem had similar effect but was not disordered as much.

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