Posted: June 14th, 2021

Comparison Between War Poetry & Macbeth

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Owen’s opinion of conflict is similar to the opinions shown in Macbeth because they both exhibit the brutality of war. Owen does this when he says ‘the blood, Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud. ’ Shakespeare also mentions this when he says of Macbeth,’ with his brandish’d steel, Which smoked with bloody execution,’ The bloodshed causes regret in all three pieces of work. Shakespeare shows this of Macbeth where he says, ‘I gin to be aweary of the sun, And wish the estate o’ the world were now undone. The regret within this statement is clearly shown because nobody would want to move back into time unless they wanted to change something for the better. Owen demonstrates this where he says, ‘incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest, To children ardent for some desperate glory,’ the words ‘innocent’ and ‘children’ interlink to show how that he regrets his leading of men into war. Furthermore, Hardy’s soldier hesitates when he says, ‘shot him dead because—Because’ because he is trying to reason his committing of murder.
Similarly to Hardy and Owen, Shakespeare makes war seem a corrupting force both physically and mentally. War turned the Macbeth who was praised by the King, into a Macbeth who was killing people regardless of who they were and also a Macbeth who was disgraced and humiliated in the latter end of his life and after he died. Owen also faced this corrupting force through war, because he says, ‘In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. ’ This shows how terrible nightmares and flashbacks are caused by participation in war.
A much more unsophisticated version of this corruption can be seen in The Man He Killed because the ‘soldier’ killed a person who had never wronged him in any way and had he had met him outside of war, he would have ‘treat, if met where any bar is, Or help to half a crown. ’ As well as the many similarities, contrasts are also present. Shakespeare depicts Macbeth opinion of war as honourable. Unlike Shakespeare, the war poets describe war as, unnatural and horrific. There also changes of opinions of war. Macbeth’s opinion of war stays the same throughout. However, Owen and Hardy show how war corrupts mind, body and soul.

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