Comparison of Poetry Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

life William Blake's poem the Lamb, defining it as the divinity of creation. Furthermore looking at Wildred Owen's poem In Dulce et Decorum Est, with an argument that its' message is one that contradicts the generally held beliefs that it is noble and heroic to die for one's country. The paper illustrates this further using quotes form the poem.

All is fair in love and War: the lamb and the bringer of death

Poetry is often seen as one of the most expressive forms of writing, and if we look at two special poems one written by William Blake, the Lamb and Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen, within these poems we can see why they have been seen as expressive and yet so simple.

The theme of Blake's poem is the divinity of creation as seen in a lamb. The metaphor of a lamb is used as Christ was called the Lamb of God, an innocent creature that follows the will of the elders and as such may be lead to its won destruction. The subject of the poem is apparent from the first two lines; " Little Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee." Christ and God are also referred to as shepherds and as such we can take the metaphor of the lamb in a deeper meaning, but this poem will work on both levels, the metaphorical and the physical.

This tells us in a single sentence that the subject is not necessary a lamb in the physical sense, buy a young an innocent creature, the poet may be talking to a child equally as he may be talking to another young creature from a kitten to a foul, or even a lamb. The idea of a power greater than ourselves in introduced in line two, where the lamb is questioned in a rhetorical sense about their creation. This indicates that their presence in more than simply a question of nature, and that it is as a response to a power we do not understand, otherwise the question would not be in such a rhetorical manner.

The life of the lamb is indicated to be more than just the physical presence as the following line then speaks of who it was that gave the lamb life and a joy of life by talking of food and a place to live which sounds idyllic. A steam and lovely clothing to wear; " By the stream and o'er the mead; Gave thee clothing of delight,."

The joy and benevolence of this creation is then describes and examined, for not only has the, lamb been created and given life, food and the essentials to live, but many other things beside. The wool that clothes the lamb is luxurious and made to sound most attractive. In any creation there is a basic level, and beyond that level it can be seen as optional addition, in his creation of life. Blake can be seen to be telling us that God has gone beyond the basic levels needed for life providing the lamb with more than is required " Softest clothing, woolly, bright"

The characteristics the lamb are also seen to be both benevolent to the lamb and its surroundings as well as a demonstration of the thoughtful and kind nature of the creator. It is the voice of the lamb that is used to illustrate this point, as this voice is gentle and attractive, and as such it is bringing joy not only to the lamb, but to all who here it. In this there is also the portrayal of innocent, as there is not selfish motivation in the lamb bringing that joy to the environment, it does it unknowingly, and unaware of the influence that has been placed on it by the creator.

We can also interpret this in the light of God's creations being made in innocence and the influences of the world bringing imperfection to that creation. In this poem the lamb is perfect, there are no signs of the traits that sully the nature of Gods creation, no unkindness, no selfish nature, jealousy or violence. In the lambs world it is peaceful and tranquil where there is no concern, nor need there be any concern for these worries. We can even make a comparison between the beginning of the poem and the setting of the garden of Eden.

If we look at the second half of the poem we see the direct references to Christ and how in innocence he came to earth to save mankind from themselves " He is called by thy name,

For he calls himself a Lamb. He is meek, and he is mild; He became a little child"

As we have already seen this is the embodiment of innocence as well as the way in which this innocence appears to be being restored to man by his transformation into a lamb; an innocent child who accepts his fate when presented with it.

The aspect of Christ being in the trinity with God is then summed up in the final lines " I am a child, and thou a lamb. We are called by his name. Little Lamb, God bless thee! Little Lamb, God bless thee! " As the creator God is the father of all men, and as such we are all children, but we do not have the innocent required as the nature of man has freewill and we are imperfect, we do not live in the meadow any longer. However, we thank God and Christ for both our creation and their divinity in being able to save us from ourselves, and for that we thank him.

However in considering our second poem we see a different aspect of the poetic aspect off life, rather than peace and love we see a non-glamorous discourse on war. In Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Own we can see how war is seen by many as exciting, but also a place where there is misery and torment. It is the commitment that is keeping the soldiers goes, a commitment that can only be born of patriotism and love for their country, as there are few things that would inspire the solder to put up with such bad conditions. However, this commitment may be misplaced and ill founded as to die in this manner there is pain and horror, there is no glory, but humiliation, nor excitement, only fear, and no victory, only loss.

The beginning of the poem makes an analogy of the soldier with old hags in the way that they are walking and fumbling along. They have little to their name. And if the way is lost they will have even left, if they survive with their lives, it is for this reason we see the soldiers fighting, they continue, despite ill health and losses.

We see that there are soldiers without boots, without rest so that they are asleep while they march, yet they continue to fight and continue to play the solider to save their country. However, if we look at their situation they have already lost, there is no joy or understanding left in their minds regarding the target, only the blind commitment to continue. There is not the motivation of a hero even, their mind is too numb for this to be the case.

In many ways the weariness we see them suffering from can be more than ordinary tiredness, they are almost oblivious to their own fate, there is deafness in the solders as they do not even hear the gas shells falling around them, they have only the energy for their own immediate fate and what effects them. In understanding this we must also understand there are very few episodes in anyone's life when they will be placed into these conditions and suffer in this way. They are bent and haggard, and would probably be ashamed for anyone else to see them.

There is little they can do for the others who will be under those shells that are falling, and the lack of interest or care can be seen as an indication of their mental state and the way in which they have had to close their minds of to external events in order to survey the events that will effect them directly.

To put up with this we can see that there would need to be a high level of commitment, but with this commitment there has been a loss of the ideals they were fighting for, they are too numb to remember or care.

The motivation has disappeared before this poem was written, and therefore it is not motivation in a direct immediate sense that is pushing these men to continue, but it is the commitment they have made to themselves and their country, and for this they are remaining deaf to what they cannot change, so that they may try to influence what they can change;…

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