Rupert Brooke: War Sonnets

Author – Rupert Brooke was an English poet who was famous for writing during WWI. He had a very brief experience with war, he was part of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and his sonnets reflect that, conveying general sentiments of purpose and romantic death.

Context – Written in 1914 at the very start of WWI, when there were very enthusiastic and patriotic sentiments about the war and people had not yet become disenchanted with it.

Language – Very passionate and intense language that reflects great English patriotism.

Audience – Other British soldiers and the British population in general.

Intent – His intent was to glorify England and the honor of fighting for one’s country.

Message – Through the sonnets, Brooke tried to express the hopeful idealism and enthusiasm that Britain and its population had at the start of the war. In Peace, Brooke conveys that this new war is welcome because it is a way to bring purpose to a generation who’s lives seemed meaningless. Safety speaks of the feeling of more security that soldiers have now that they have found a purpose in war. The Dead conveys Brooke’s sentiment that dying for Britain is an honor – “dying has made us rarer gifts than gold”. In The Soldier Brooke once again writes of the relief and honor he would feel if he died fighting for his country and that he would feel at piece becoming part of her after death.

2 thoughts on “Rupert Brooke: War Sonnets

  1. While Brooke’s poetry was successful because it represented the popular attitude of Britain at the start of WWI, I find it very interesting that Brooke’s war experience consisted of only one day in battle. Brooke went through emotional struggles in his personal life with women. His War Sonnet’s seem to be more of a reflection of his mental state than the call to war.

  2. I agree. He seems to speak more of himself and his mental state in his sonnets. It very well may also be a call to war and a description of its consequences but above all he seems to talk about the metal state he is in that war has caused.

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