Depiction Of War In Poems: Vitai Lamparda And Dulce Et Decorum Est.

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Depiction of War in Poems: Vitai Lamparda and Dulce et Decorum Est.

Depiction of War in Poems: Vitai Lamparda and Dulce et Decorum Est.

The title of the poem Vitai Lampada (1899) by Henry Newbolt is derived from a Latin phrase meaning 'The Torch of Life' refers to a school motto. Although it has often been dismissed as dated and jingoistic ? I find it far more profound than it may initially appear. Its Latin title translates as “the torch of life ?” and it describes a light of inspiration that burns in every age. On the other hand Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen is a typical war poetry which is a passionate expression of outrage at the horrors of war and of pity for the young soldiers sacrificed in it.

The poem Vitai Lampada begins with a cricket match on the green of Newbolt's old school ? Clifton College in Bristol ? England. However ? we could be watching any cricket match in any park across the world ? or ? for that matter ? any game of baseball. Birth and death aside ? is anything more universal as sport? From the first discus thrown among the olive groves of Athens to the basketball courts dotted around American cities and towns ? sport has been central to human experience.

While it is "Dulce et Decorum Est" which provides a very dramatic and memorable description of the psychological and physical horrors that war brings about. From the first stanza Owen uses strong metaphors and similes to convey a strong warning. The first line describes the troops as being "like old beggars under sacks". This not only says that the men are tired but that they are so tired they have been brought down to the level of beggars. "Coughing like hags" suggests that these young men (many who were in their teens) were suffering from ill health due to the damp ? sludge and fumes from the decaying bodies of their fallen men at arms ? lying on their chests. It was also in the winter's of The Great War where the events that ? Owen speaks of took place ? so they would have been prone to pneumonias and other diseases.

In the poem Vitai Lampada the outcome of the match hangs in the balance. One team is just about surviving ? with its “last man” in. The rest are out. He only needs ten more runs to win ? but the “bumping pitch” and “blinding light” suggest the odds are not in his favor. So where does he summon his courage from? It's not from the promise of prizes or glory ? from a “ribboned coat” or a “season's fame.” It's not from the praise of others. It's from the heartfelt words of his Captain to “play up ? play up and play the game”—words delivered with the force of a whack. To be smited is to be hit. It's a jolt that wakes us up from our daydreaming.

Whereas the poem ...
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