Essay On Wilfred Owen And His Poems

1131 words - 5 pages

Wilfred Owen essay draft.

The First World War rained havoc on the population of Great Britain and Europe between the years 1914 and 1918, causing catastrophe to the soldiers and their families. As well as many other European countries, Britain used propaganda as a tool and to make life on the front line sound more appealing to the average man. Propaganda posters were used to lure people into fight and to make those who decided not to fight appear as cowards among the other men that signed up. The propaganda worked and caused a positive opinion towards men going out to fight; which made more men go out to war and hope to come back as heroes.

Many poets wrote about the things that ...view middle of the document...

Owen uses graphic descriptions of life in the trenches to convey a powerful message to the reader; additionally, he uses his poetry as a vehicle to express his ideas on the horror and futility of war.

‘Dulce et Decorum est’ refers to the Latin phrase used on propaganda, ‘it is sweet and right’ the rest of the phrase is ‘Dulce et Decorum est pro patrai mori’ which means ‘it is sweet and right to die for your country’, however, Owen is being sarcastic; the depiction of war being futile is evident through out Owens poem. Firstly, he refers to the men as ‘coughing like hags’, which depicts the men were unnatural and dying. Also Owens imagery tells us that the men were broken down by war and they are described in the most unglamorous and inglorious manner.

‘Dulce et Decorum est’ reveals the hidden truths of the past centuries’ war, by uncovering the cruelties the soldiers were left to face. The poem is authentic as Wilfred was there to experience the atrocities of the First World War. The poem begins with a glimpse at the soldiers living conditions and their life style. Owen then describes a dreadful gas attack that follows along with its horrid outcomes. The poet resumes eventually, the poet confirms the present propaganda to be ‘the old lie’ – as the glory of war was a myth.

We can clearly see the poets’ ability to create effective imagery; such as, ‘coughing like hags’ the use of the simile helps us see that the men were weak and dying. Furthermore, the simile ‘bent double like old beggars under sacks’, tells us that the men looked so horrible after the ordeal that they had been through, that they looked more like beggars than soldiers.

Wilfred Owen uses several poetic devices in his poem, such as iambic pentameter, which is used in lines one to three and five to seven; iambic pentameter is usually associated with love poetry and generates a regular beat, this is ironic due to the content of stanza one. Also the slow pace in stanza one represents the condition of the soldier’s bodies, but stanza two is opened with a dramatic change of pace and urgency in tone, due...

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