“Dulce et Decorum Est” and “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars” (Analysis)

To Lucasta Going to the Wars Dulce et Decorum Est poem analysis similarities and differences
A scene from the 1916 film “The Battle of the Somme.” The poems “To Lucasta Going to the Wars” and “Dulce et Decorum Est” have considerable similarities and differences. (Photo: Public Domain)

The poems “To Lucasta, going to the Wars” by Richard Lovelace and “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen talk about war and the involvement of men in armed conflict. Even though the poems have different characters, both describe war from the male point of view. This similarity affects the way war is depicted. On the other hand, the poems are different in terms of their target readers as well as their illustrations of war. These similarities and differences indicate that war can be seen in various ways, depending on the perceiver. The poems also add to the importance of considering points of view in arguments regarding war.

The two poems explore the experiences that men and their loved ones have about war, with special emphasis on the hardships and feelings of men going to war and in the battlefield. The two poems also explore the perspectives that men and society have about war.

Similarities between “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars”

The main similarity between the two poems is that a man narrates each poem. This means that the first person perspective is that of a man going to war. This similarity highlights the patriarchal nature of society, especially in the past centuries, when men were expected to fill positions in the armed forces. Moreover, such similarity between the two poems points to stereotypes about men and the armed forces.

In “To Lucasta, going to the Wars”, it is indicates that the narrator, i.e. the man, communicates with his loved one whom he also calls “Sweet” and “Dear”. Similarly, in “Dulce et Decorum Est”, the narrator is able to show that he is part of the group of soldiers who went to battle, thereby establishing that the narrator is a man, especially when considering that men were mostly the ones who went to battle at the time the poem was written, i.e. 1917. Thus, the two poems are told in a man’s voice, and create the tone and sound that a man would have in narrating his story about going to war.

Differences between “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars”

A difference between the two poems is the intended audience. In the case of “To Lucasta, going to the Wars”, the narrator directs his poem to Lucasta. This means that the Lucasta is the intended reader. In “Dulce et Decorum Est”, the narrator directs the poem to society in general. Even though there is indication that the poem was originally intended to be read by the poet’s “friend”, the broadness and general appeal of the poem emphasizes that the intended audience is the public, in order to inform the people about the horrors that men experience as they go to war.

What the two poems say about war is the main difference between them. They are opposite each other. Lovelace’s poem shows that the narrator thinks of going to war as something positive for him – – something that he must do and should be considered with high regard. For instance, the narrator says that he needs “a stronger faith” in order to go to war. Even though this statement may seem negative at first, upon a closer look, it is arguable that the narrator has decided that he wants to go to war and that, in spite of the possible hardships he might experience in doing so, he would just count on his faith. In addition, in the last stanza, the narrator also indicates that going to war is an honor that even Lucasta would “adore”. Thus, the poem shows that the narrator has a positive tone about going to war. In contrast, Owen’s poem shows that the narrator has a negative perspective about going to war. The narrator is against going to war because he does not want men to suffer. In the last stanza of the poem, it is indicated that is it a lie that it is sweet to die for the country.

Final Note

The two poems, “To Lucasta, going to the Wars” and “Dulce et Decorum Est”, talk about going to war and the experiences in the battlefield. Lovelace’s poem uses the voice of a man going to war, with a positive tone and sound. On the other hand, Owen’s poem also uses the voice of a man going to war, but uses a negative tone and sound.

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