Benedict Cumberbatch - Many Faces of Poetry (4/10)
Major Jamie Stewart - “Dulce et decorum est” by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
Commentary: This time I am almost surprised by my own choice, because for major Stewart I originally intended to use some of Siegfried Sassoon’s poems. However, at the last moment I decided for my second favourite WWI poet - Wilfred Owen, who (unlike Sassoon) died in the war. Major Stewart’s fate remains undecided, but I rather like to imagine he survived the prison camp and returned to England - with bitter memories of the men he led to death. He is portrayed as a very brave man and a good leader, but apart from the apparent pride you can also see more than a hint of cynism when he talks to captain Nicholls about the future of their regiment. As a good officer, he will give the men their pep speech (a memorable moment thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch) and orders them to fight, but he’s also a good man - and as a good man, he will remember the bloodshed and feel remorse, probably even anger. I like to think of him as of an old war veteran torn between pride and gnawing feeling of being betrayed by those he served.