The Dead III by Rupert Brooke: Summary and Analysis

As Rupert Brooke is one of the pioneers of war poetry, his The Dead III is a famous war poem written in the form of a sonnet. He has written another poem titled same as The Dead in his collection of five sonnets. This particular sonnet is the third one in the collection. Here Brooke praises the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the sake of England in the third World War and brought honor and fame back to home.

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

In the first stanza, the poet is ordering to the bugles to blow out loud so as to honor the “the rich Dead!”  The dead soldiers are addressed as the rich dead because of their experiences at war and the happiness they gave to the people of the country. The dead soldiers are not lonely and poor after their death, in fact, their sacrifice to the motherland has made them rarer than the Gold. Their love to the land and people are incomparable. They have scaffold themselves to be above the huge mass of the ordinary lives. The dead is further praised for leaving all the happiness and pleasures of lives. Their families and friends bid them adieu for the war, knowing the fact that there is very little chance of coming back home from the war.  The dead have missed their families’ love and care. They have given their youth to the country which is supposed to be spent with fun and enjoyment. Their productive and creative young age was spent in the cruel and brutal battlefield. They have happily sacrificed their old age too, where they have dreamt of having children and relaxation amid the family members. The poet, however, does not feel sad for the dead soldiers as they have earned ‘immortality’ in return of everything. 

The sestet again commences with the same order to the bugles to blow with more power to give tribute to the dead as they have brought peace and order in the country. Brooke lauded the dead rich, for they have carried holiness, love and pain at the same time, which have been missing from the earth since a long time ago. Pain, here, is in the sense of loss of the lives of the soldiers in the war. Because of their great sacrifice to the motherland, a great honor to the land has come again. The honor is royal like the king on the earth in the form of victory. For bringing the honor to the land, the dead rich should be paid wage by giving proper respect. The nobleness and the dignity they have left will be learnt by the new generations as a great lesson in their lives and the same heritage will last long.

This war poem focuses on the positive aspects of the war. For Brooke, war is an act of glorifying the nations and her soldiers. The soldiers are selfless and bravely fought for the nations. They are like god for him who helps in bringing back peace, love, honor and harmony in the country. The dead rich soldiers gain immortality by sacrificing their youth in the battlefield.

As Rupert Brooke is a patriotic writer, he loves glorious war for the good cause and he loves to praise the soldiers. The first line is realistic and straight away an order to the musical instrument, “Blow out bugles, over the rich Dead!” The use of the exclamation mark urges us to read the lines in a tone of triumph and victory. There is an easy assonance in the first line to reflect love. The dead are ‘rich’, here rich suggests the experiences the dead had collected during the war and the happiness and peace they have given to the common people in exchange of their lives. The dead soldiers have been compared to the expensive material that is gold. The soldiers now have become rare and expensive and more demanding for their pious deed of dying for the nation.

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Shrestha, Roma. "The Dead III by Rupert Brooke: Summary and Analysis." BachelorandMaster, 4 Apr. 2018,

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