How does the poem “The poet as Hero” suggest a change in attitude by the poet?

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Religion Pages: 2 (638 words) Published: April 22, 2014
How does the poem “The poet as Hero” suggest a change in attitude by the poet? Siegfied Sassoon’s poem ‘ The Poet as Hero’ was written during World War One and explores how the reality of war differs from what those who have not experienced it think and tell what war – and dying for one’s country– is glorious and honourable. Sassoon wrote romantic war poetry before he had experienced war and uses this poem to explain why he started writing anti-war poetry and to try and apologize for his former points of views. His two points of view are contrasted to show his change in attitude. Sassoon believed that war and dying as a result of it was noble until he had experienced the reality of war. The poem shows his naivety in this attitude through allusions to the Knights of the Round Table. Stories based on knights which many young British boys would be aware of. The referencing or allusion to ‘Galahad’ on line 9 was the name of one of these knights, supposedly the most noble because he went to fight, and never returned, dying victoriously in battle. Sassoon’s earlier attitude to war, and that of many who never experienced it, was that dying in it is noble and honourable. However, Sassoon is suggesting that this is just a childhood fantasy held by those who do not understand the reality of dying in battle and endorsed by children’s stories. This idea is reinforced by the adjective ‘silly’ on line 3 and the phrase ‘infant wail’. These highly display the immaturity and naivety of his former attitude. The Christian allusion to the Holy Grail on line 5 suggests that Sassoon also believed it was morally right and right by the Christian God to take part in war, an attitude which he later changes. Sassoon is suggesting that the belief that war is morally right, honourable and holy is childish and immature. In this poem, Sassoon shows his attitude change to one of that causing war to go on when you have the power to stop it is immoral and those who do it must ask for God’s...
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