A Comparative Essay on the Anti-war Poems "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen and "Requiem for the Croppies" by Seamus Heaney
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In this comparative piece on these two anti-war sonnets, from World War One and the Battle of Vinegar Hill, I will attempt to explain how each writer displays the particular event in their poetry. Both these poems have irregular rhyme schemes and around 10 syllables on each line. The aim of these poems is to remind us to respect those men who lost their lives in battle, and to how disgraceful war really is.
In Anthem for Doomed Youth, Owen splits his sonnet into two stanzas, an octet and a sestet. The octet describes the imagery of the battle field and the trenches on the front line. Whereas the sestet seems to describe the home front, however the main theme throughout the poem is how so many soldiers were needlessly sacrificed. The fact that the poem is called an Anthem is extremely cynical and contradictory, as anthems are normally passionate, whereas this is about death, and this shows how much Owen hated war and everything it stood for. Also Doomed Youth gives the impression that the young and lively soldiers with a whole life in front of them are being led to war, where there lives are effectively doomed.
Owen starts his poem with a question,
“What passing bells for these who die as cattle?”
This is asking what marks the soldiers’ death. He compares the soldiers to cattle, as though they are inhumanely herded to the abattoir for slaughter, and Owen focuses on how much suffering soldiers endured throughout the ironically named “Great War”. Also using a question highlights the ruthlessness of war, as well as enticing the reader to find the answer, which is comprehensively answered in the lines to follow.
In reply to the question, he describes the passing bells, as the
“monstrous anger of th...
... middle of paper ...
... will be experiencing.
Line thirteen shows how bright, colourful flowers that would be usual at a funeral, are compared to the pain endured by the victim and his family. It highlights how the people are lamenting their loss, and the differences of a funeral on the front line to that of one at home. The patience could also be compared to how the relatives have to wait and see if their brother, father or son returns dead, or alive.
The last line,
“And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.”
This portrays perfectly how the family now have to close out the day, and wait till tomorrow to try and find their soldier. However it could also be marking the end of the comparative funeral, as the blinds are closed, which depicts the final respects, and how the soldier has left the ghastly pandemonium of the battlefield, to enter eternal bliss.