Essay about Attitude of World War I Poets Towards War

Essay about Attitude of World War I Poets Towards War

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It is interesting when discussing WW1 poetry to examine how attitudes to war at the time may have influenced the poets. Before WW1 war was generally viewed as a positive thing. Many young men followed a career in the army and saw it as something of an adventure. The horrors of WW1 changed many people’s attitudes to war, the mechanisation of warfare led to millions of casualties and this resulted into a general realisation that war wasn’t a glorious adventure. Many soldiers wrote powerful poems about the reality of war as they wanted the truth to be known. Wilfred Owen was one of these and one of his poems I’m going to discus is ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’. Nevertheless there were some pro-war poems such as Fall In.
The first poem I am going to discuss is by Wilfred Owen. Wilfred Owen was a young man who voluntarily joined the army. He went to war thinking it was an adventure but his views dramatically changed over the course of the war. His views are shown trough many dramatic and tragic poems. He suddenly passed away on the 4th of November 1918, but his legacy still continues to have profound effects on literature.
‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ (meaning sweet and proper) is Owen’s most famous poem and one of the most searing war poems ever written. It is a poem about a gas attack that was witnessed by Wilfred Owen, where one of his men suffered an agonising death. Owen wrote this poem to show his contempt for the propaganda lies that said war was a glorious and heroic event.
In the first stanza of ‘D.E.D.E’, Owen paints a picture of exhausted and ill soldiers returning to their trenches. He uses similes such as “coughing like hags,” and “We cursed through sludge,” The first quote is a good simile because it describes the poor physical c...

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...more poetically alluring for the reader to believe. Although I did find the poem ‘Fall In’ very poetically powerful due the high amount of statements that made the reader feel guilty and its very frequent links to God wanting war, but it focuses away from what war was really like, which lets the poem down. I thought the anti-war poems were better because they fully expressed the true horrors of war and the events that occurred. I also believe that anti-war poems were reliable because the poets were present in the trenches, so they had first had experience of what war was like from a soldier’s point of view.
I preferred ’D.E.D.E’ because it was a very poetically powerful poem which showed the true horrors of war. I also enjoyed its many powerful similes because without them the poem would not have created the poignancy of transporting the readers to the trenches.

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