Two Views of War Nothing can impact society like war. War can be viewed as noble and just, or cruel and inhuman, as well as everything in between. War can make a man a hero, or it can make him a criminal. War affects everyone in society whether they are fighting in the trenches or waiting at home for a loved one to return. War has been the topic of countless pieces of literature, in the poem "Dulce et Decorum Est," by Wilfred Owen and the poem "To Lucasta, on Going to the Wars," by Richard Lovelace, both show two very different sides to war.
Wilfred Owen, who fought in The First World War, tells a tale of the reality of war from the trenches. He cuts though the propaganda to show war for what it is to a young soldier, cruel and dark and unmerciful. He describes a gas attack where he sees a man die, "Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, as under a green sea, I saw him drowning." (13-14). Owen paints a grim picture of the war, and ends with a message to the reader. He warns us not to believe "Dulce et decorum est Pro part ria mori," (27-28) Greek for "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country." Owen is trying to show us that war is not as noble as the propaganda tries to make use believe. The propaganda that Owen talks about seems to be the topic of Lovelace's poem, "To Lucasta, on Going to the Wars." Lovelace seems to view war as a romantic endeavor, he personifies war as a lover, "a new mistress now I chase." He seems to be caught up in the romantic view of war.
He sees the war as honorable, he longs for his sword, house, shield, and he seems to ache for that first kill. This poem seems to be written before the author went to war. Would his poem be different after he experienced war? These two authors show two very different views of war, one pointing out the horrors of the reality of war and one showing the romantic, noble view of the war. War takes on two very different views for the people who fight it and for the people who do not. It can't be said which author is right and which is wrong.
It could be said, though, that both authors' views represent their true feelings; war can mean very different things for different people. Works Cited Owen, Wilfred. "Dulce et Decorum Est." Literature and the Writing Process. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 6 th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice, 2002.
528-529. Lovelace, Richard. "To Lucasta, on Going to the Wars." Literature and the Writing Process. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 6 th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice, 2002.