In many pieces of writing an emotion is expressed. This can differ depending on the writer’s aspirations and objectives for their reader. Emotions can come from the writer’s personal interpretation, opinions and feelings or the emotions he wants to create through his characters and the situations they face. I wanted to compare how similar and different emotions are expressed in two different genre of writing and understand how the writer uses language techniques to make his writing effective. The two pieces of writing I have been looking at is Titus Andronicus and WW1 poetry. Titus Andronicus is a play written by Shakespeare and the WW1 poetry consists of two different poems by different poets. The first poem being Does it matter? By Siegfried Sassoon and the second being Athem for doomed youth by Wilfred Owen. In this piece of writing I will be comparing Titus Andronicus and WW1 poetry. In order to do this I will look at the historical content and background information of each, the plot and events which happened, the emotions expressed through language devices, modern interpretation, conflicts still happening today and my own conclusion.
Titus Andronicus is a tragedy play script written by Shakespeare. It is lead to believe that it was written around 1590. The play was performed in the 17th century. The play is also considered to be Shakespeare first tragedy. A tragedy styled piece of writing is based on human suffering that invokes the audience’s enjoyment and strong emotions to be shown. We also have to remember that his work was fictional therefore the writer created the characters and emotions shown whereas the war poems were accounts from WW1 which was a real life event. However, Shakespeare used a realistic character base using groups of people for example the Romans and the Goths. Titus Andronicus is established as Shakespeare’s most violent play which is very significant considering it was his first playwright. My opinion consist of that Shakespeare was trying to make a big impact on his audience and shock them through the story and emotion. He would have wanted to do this to portray the message that he has more potential, to grow in public demand with the audiences best interests in mind. This would therefore increase his plays in popularity resulting in a large viewing audience. The Elizabethan London audiences loved to watch Shakespeare plays and wanted to see violence resulting in suffering and the breaking down of characters. I think death, violence, and suffering within London was very common 500 years ago which many could relate to and enjoy viewing. What I mean by this is that death was a punishment for committing a crime and was widely celebrated and published by the London community. This relates to the fact that people enjoyed to watch people suffer. The play is built around the sheer anger and revenge the character felt towards each other and the situations they faced.
The War Poems written by Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen were subjected around World War One. Both men were soldiers for the British Army and expressed their feelings on war through poetry. Being as both men fought in the war this gave there poetry a clear message of the reality of war. These poems did change the community at home perception on war. WW1 lasted for four years starting in 1914 and ending in 1918 where 9 million soldier lost their lives. The subject of war in Britain was widely celebrated on home soil in which people would party showing off the red, white and blue flag. Young men would rush to sign up to be soldiers and would be looked down on if they didn’t by the community. As the war went on more and more young men continued to die, and slowly the perception of war at home was changed. These poems and the writing sent home to family members of the families have a huge role to play within this change of opinion on war, but the war didn’t end which the soldiers were desperate for. The emotions present throughout the poems were sadness, pain, and grief which the soldiers faced.
In Titus Andronicus Act 3 Scene 1 and the War Poetry of Wilfred Owen Anthem for Doomed Youth there is a level of desperation and to make awareness. For example in Shakespeare, Titus is begging the Tribunes not to kill his sons, and in the Poetry the writer wants the war to end and for people to know the truth. Due to these being personal issues similarly surrounding round death strong emotions are present. An emotion of being despair and hopelessness is linked with both texts.
In both writings the way it sounds is used to show this emotion. The use of iambic pentameter is used to show this. For example from Titus Andronicus ‘Why, tis no matter man; if they hear’. The use of iambic pentameter allows the words to flow and creates a rhythm giving the line a matter of importance and passion. This is the first line of the extract showing us that Titus started off strongly. However, the emotion of despair is shown through the breakdown of the iambic pentameter where there is a line that doesn’t fit the rhythm and has a stressed syllable. An example of this would be ‘yet in some sort they are better than the tribunes’. This gives us the evidence to suggest that Titus is giving up and losing hope and becoming weaker. It is also significant that the stressed syllable is the word ‘tribunes’ enforcing that his problem lies with them and it is really bothering him. The last line also doesn’t fit the pentameter ‘and tribunes with their tongues doom men to death’ which leaves us as readers feeling the emotion of despair being as it didn’t end strongly and also in suspense to see whether the tribunes kill his sons.
Wilfred Owen also uses the Iambic pentameter in his poem. The emotion is shown in the same as Shakespeare through lines that doesn’t fit the pentameter. What is different about the poem is that the lines not fitting the pentameter are the first lines in the first two stanzas. For example stanza one ‘what passing-bells for these who die as cattle?’. I interpreted this as the poet started of weak to give the essence of suggesting where he starts being as it is such a big, disturbing topic. This line triggered this thought and I think it was his intention which also emphasised the emotion. Throughout the stanza the iambic pentameter picked up showing an increase in confidence, but then in stanza two the first line broke the pentameter ‘no mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells’. I think this was done to show that the problem keeps coming back, people are made aware and no one does anything. The feeling of despair is present throughout the whole poem.
The second literary technique used is repetition. Repetition can be used to enforce an important point or could be used to build towards a climax. ‘then must my sea’ ‘then must my earth’ is a quote taken from Titus Andronicus Act 3 scene 2. The quote is from Titus’ soliloquy where he expresses the pain he us going through. The repetition of the first three words in line nine and ten is used to build up towards Titus breaking down which the audience wants to see. This is used also to show the switch in magnitude from Sea to Earth, expressing his pain is increasing. Keeping the words the same allows for the Sea and Earth so stand out getting the writers main point across. If we think about the sea and earth in relation to Titus we could conclude the sea is his tears due to the connection of water and the earth is his brain due to the connection between care and sustainability.
Repetition is also used in the war poem Does it Matter? The question ‘does it matter’ is repeated in both the opening line of stanzas one and two. The fact that the first lines match the title enforces that the poet is stressed about this question and wants to make it stand out to the reader. Due to it being repeated we could conclude the soldier needs reassurance in thinking they matter and people do care. The soldier is feeling neglected and unheard which is shown through the repeated question. The third stanza’s opening question is ‘do they matter?’ This shows a shift in emotion where the poet now asks do the people allowing war matter. We can conclude this is a breakdown in his extreme emotions.
A metaphor is a creative device which can be used to express different extremes of emotions. In ‘Anthem of doomed youth’ and ‘Titus’ not a direct metaphor has been used however there are metaphorical phrases. In Titus ‘a stone is soft as wax’ is said by Titus. By the word stones we know he is talking about the tribunes which he is unhappy with. We can’t say it is a direct metaphor because it doesn’t say one thing is another different thing. We can conclude that it is metaphorical because it is describing the subject in the same format and saying that an element of the subject is something it isn’t. In Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare uses metaphor to make his writing interesting and strong. Also metaphor allows easy comparisons to be made through the mentioning of two different subjects. Metaphorical phrases and metaphors can also allow the writer to personify objects which all help to build up an emotion. Using a metaphor makes the writing creative, adding a flavour and level of understanding that helps freedom to express different emotions. These elements allow the reader to understand easily the emotion being experienced by the character.
In the poem ‘Anthem of doomed youth’ a metaphorical phrase is used. ‘the shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells’. The quote means that the choirs have been forgotten and all you can hear is shells from war. The word demented displays that the choirs have been forgotten, however they have not gone. The quote shows a switch from a positive noise to a negative noise. We could relate this to the soldier losing hope and faith, but the fact that the choirs haven’t gone shows that things could change. This demonstrates a switch in emotion and for an easy comparison to be made. The use of a metaphorical phrase here is used to show a switch in emotion which is easily shown through using a metaphor. Showing the noises is changing from positive to negative supports the poet’s feelings. The poet is suffering from his emotions becoming worst resulting in his needs becoming desperate. Using a metaphorical phrase allows these emotions to be displayed and interpreted clearly and easily.
Writers use similar techniques to express their extremes of emotions in their pieces of work. Emotions have always been felt and expressed by people. This ranges from an external subject being their environment, situation etc which triggers an emotion or feeling. Both pieces of writing and many pieces of writing are expressing the same emotion of sadness and desperation, throughout different time periods. However the same techniques could equally be used to express emotions such as joy and happiness. The techniques are similar if not the same because they have always worked and been successful. The technique’s both of the writings consist of has managed to portray the extremes of emotions the character or writer has been facing which is the writer’s goal. The techniques also allow the writing to be rich and creative when used correctly which helps engage the reader. The techniques will allow the emotions to be expressed and understood. The techniques are almost like a writing frame and the selection of words outside of the techniques tells the story allowing each of the writings to be different with the same emotions. Being as emotions are always present the techniques used to express them are similar.