Critical Appreciation of The Poem The Soldier
Attempt a critical appreciation of The Soldier.
Rupert Brooke is known for his war sonnets that he wrote after being enlisted in the British Army in course of the first world war. His war poems vibrate with patriotism and the euthusiasm felt by a soldier in the service of his nation.
In this sonnet, he expresses his wish to be remembered as an English soldier who even in his death conquered a small portion of the earth in a foreign land. He advances an argument which is of course logical and forceful but reminds of the wit of a metaphysical poet. Rupert Brooke says that in case of his burial in a foreign soil he will only be making another England for himself and his countrymen.
The argument is that his body, made up of the English soil, will anglicise that small portion of the foreign land. It is a wonderful argument which develops in the octave. A person represents a nation in all its details as he is brought up by its peculiar norms, values, traditions and culture. Even, in death he continues to represent his nation in a greater degree because of subtle freedom that death provides in the form of release from the body.
The sestet is even more impressive. It speaks of the heart, freed from all malice and prejudice, fused with eternity. And it will remain alive, enjoying the beauty of the experiences that the English nation gave to him. There is thus a prefound feeling of indebtedness to England that gives Such beauty and meaning to the sonnet.
Patriotism is a common feeling but it is certainly intensified in times of war, in times of foreign aggression when a person strongly feels his link with the soil of his nation. Rupert Brooke has given marvellous expression to this beautiful feeling.