Wilfred Owen Essay

2542 words - 11 pages

Wilfred Owen wrote his poems as an attempt to stop the war and to make people realise how horrific it was.
In a thorough examination of the poems "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Dulce et Decorum Est" and "Disabled" and also with some reference to other works by Owen, it can be seen that he uses different poetical features, styles and methods. Wilfred Owen addresses his readers from different stances right up to him addressing the reader personally. This method is very effective in evoking feelings from great anger and bitterness to terrible sadness and even sarcasm, making the reader sometimes even feel guilty. Whichever way he chooses to portray the pity of the war the end result is always ...view middle of the document...

This particular poem shows the pity of the war in a very shocking way by great use of poetical devices, which at the end he makes the reader think about.
"Anthem for Doomed Youth" is an elegiac sonnet. It is not an account of Owen's experience in the war itself, but rather a judgement on it. The title is correct; "doomed youth" as some soldiers in the war were very young. The title can either be thought of as ironic, or in actual respect of the youth who gave their lives. The authorial stance is a narrative observer. This poem shows Wilfred Owen's anger and bitterness towards the war and the church. It is written in an unorthodox way because thorough out the first stanza he ironically links a catalogue of the sounds of the war, the weapons of destruction, guns, rifles, shells, with religious imagery. In the second stanza the focus changes to the mourning people in Britain.
"Dulce Et Decorum Est" uses many poetical devises. The first stanza creates an appalling image of the soldiers limping back from the front. In this stanza the condition of the men is such that they can be compared to "old beggars under sacks," the sack being their once smart uniform and "coughing like hags,"

"Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs."
This line describes an image Owen will never forget. When the distressflares go up, it means that there is men dying who need help. They light up the area where soldiers lay dead or are dying, but Owen and his men have to "turn their backs." Owen uses colloquial language to describe the men "trudge." This shows that they are common people like anyone else. It gives the poem a more personal effect. Towards the end of the first stanza, the sounds of the words begin to soften, Wilfred
Owen chooses to use feminine endings on the words such as gas and sh and also the word "softly" which is onomatopoeic. This brings the stanza to a soft end.
"Gas! GAS! Quick boys! -An ecstasy of fumbling"
This is a very sudden start to the next stanza. The word "gas" is onomatopoeic and the sound of the word brings alarm. It is also a real word that would have been used in that situation. The word "ecstasy" means the men are in an extreme state of delusion. They do not know what to do. The latter half of the second stanza creates a powerful underwater extended metaphor, where succumbing to poison gas is compared to drowning. Owen is telling us of one of an experience where he saw a man "As under a green sea, drowning". This is a recurring dream that Owen has, where he sees the man drowning "before my helpless sight." Owen was helpless to this man. He could do nothing to save him. This was very hard for Owen to face. Wilfred Owen often woke up in the night after this dream to see the man even after he has woken up. The forth stanza is an appeal to the reader to empathise with him. He wishes he reader to imagine the dreams and to realise what the war can do. "You too could pace" is an imitation of the famous war poster "Your country...

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