The Destruction of Sennacherib and Exposure


The Destruction of Sennacherib and Exposure

SimilaritiesGetting Started

  • Both poems explore the universality conflict of war; TDOS emphasises the largeness of war by referring to the army as "the sleepers" and "cohorts" and the fact that "the sheen of their spears" were "like stars on the sea" emphasise the many weapons and soldiers that fought. In EXPOSURE, Owen collectively talks about his experience by using 1st person plural such as "us/our/we" to show that his suffering is shared by all soldiers in al wars.
  • TDOS shows how war causes physical pains such as death by contrasting the "foam of his [horses] gasping" to the "spray of the rock beating surf" to the gentle "blue waves" in the beginning. TDOS also explored the phycological effects of war by telling of how the "widows of Asher were loud in  their wail".  In EXPOSURE, the poet also explore physical effects such as in the line "pale flakes with ********* stealth come feeling for our faces" and shows the mental deterioration using questions; the first question answers the second question "What are we doing here? // "Is it that we are dying?" - the fact that they have to answer their own questions, shows lack of moral and support
  • Nature is used in both to emphasise the idea of defeat; in EXPOSURE it is portrayed as deadly as in the line "Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army" which describes it like a cancer that is coming to kill. In TDOS, nature is somewhat violently used to emphasise the death of the horses "And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, // And cold as the spray on the rock beating surf"
  • Both poems explore suffering during the war, especially in EXPOSURE where they "turn back to our dying" which shows that they are powerless in terms of their fate, and their phycological and physical suffering is emphasised in the line "our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us". TDOS also explores suffering through the vivid description of the corpses of the soldiers by the contrast of the soldiers "gleaming in purple and gold" and ending up "distorted and pale" with "dew on his brow and rust on his mail"
  • In EXPOSURE defeat is explored through the questions, the first question seems to answer itself showing that the soldiers have been defeated by the torturous conditions of war as they are left hopelessness "What are we doing here? // Is it that we are dying?". Defeat is explored in a more gentle perspective in TDOS such as respectfully stating "for ever grew still" and the dreamy alliteration of "their hearts but once heaved" almost creating pity for the other side in the war


  • EXPOSURE shows the futility of war through their rhyme scheme of ABBAC, each stanza ends with a half line showing hopelessness and the endless uselessness of war (S1: "us/silent/salient/nervous/happens"). TDOS  has a regular AABB rhyme scheme to mimic the galloping of horses to emphasise the glory of the Assyrian army ("fold/gold/sea/Galilee")
  • EXPOSURE is based on the struggles Owen and the soldiers faced in the trenches of WW1 as the weather murdered soldiers. Owen was an anti war poet during WW1 who focuses on how to propaganda sold a lie about the glory of war. TDOS is based on a biblical story where the Assyrian army tried to seize hold of the holy Jerusalem from the Israelites
  • TDOS has anaphora of "and" on almost every line which speeds up the pace of the, this mimics the easy defeat of the Assyrians as well as the might of the army. EXPOSURE is more slow paced created by the hyphens, ellipses and many commas "we cringe in our holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-"
  • TDOS begins with emphasis on the glory of war as it uses the heroic yet cliche simile of the Assyrians attacking "like the wolf on the fold" whilst being majestically describes as "gleaming in purple and gold" and holding their spears like "stars on the sea". However, EXPOSURE begins immediately with the cold reality of war as it describes "our brains ache, the merciless iced east winds that knive us"
  • EXPOSURE focusses on the reality of war using violent imagery such as "twitching agonies of men" and the sibilance of "sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence" whereas TDOS does not use violent imagery, making war seem more ethereal than terrifying such as in "the host with their banners at sunset were seen"
  • Nature is describes as an enemy in EXPOSURE shown cleverly through alliteration in the line "flowing flakes that flock" which imitates the snow to be suffocating, but nature is used to describe the easy defeat of the Assyrians by the Angel of Death "like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath blown / the host on the morrow lay wither'd and strown"
  • exposure explores the futility of all wars using the form of caesurae - "   but nothing happens" // "what are we doing here?" and the first person plural "our/us/we" whereas TDOS generally glorifies all wars by focussing on the power of "the Assyrians"
  • TDOS explores the glory of the Angle of Deaths win against the Assyrians through the anaphora of "and" which creates a quick pace (like a horses gallop) to highlight the strength of the AOD as well as the alliterative "breathed in the face of the foe as he passed" to show the sheer strength of the merciless AOD.
  • TDOS ends with the declaration of God's power in the line "Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!". However, EXPOSURE miserable ends with the same monotony of being lost for cause by repeating the phrase "but nothing happens" just like how stanza 1,3,4 ended.
  • EXPOSURE invokes the idea that war is terrifying through the use of ellipses as it resemble the soldiers being on edge, listening out for enemies "worried we keep awake because the night its silent.."

Overall comparison





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this is very good