Wilfred Owen War Poetry Analysis

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Wilfred Owen’s war poetry examines the intense and extraordinary human experience of war. His body of work is clearly concerned with unveiling the real atrocities and devastation wreaked by war, as well as elucidating the falsity manifested by war propaganda. Owen’s poem illuminates the severe and debilitating effect war has upon the young, examining the painful way in which these young soldiers were left to die. ’Dulce Et Decorum Est’, subverts traditional perceptions of war as being honourable, by graphically portraying the debilitating and traumatic consequences of war on the young innocent soldiers. This poem is an attack on the government who use propaganda to encourage generations of ‘boys’ to sacrifice their lives for some ‘desperate…show more content…
This poem represents Owen’s outrage at the waste and loss of life experienced during the war but also explores the loss of innocence experienced by these young soldiers. A close analysis of Owen’s language techniques in these two poems will illustrate how Owen effectively shocks his responders, in order to reveal the barbarity and dehumanisation of war.
To begin, in the graphic poem ’Dulce Et Decorum Est’ Wilfred Owen immediately unveils the grim reality of war through the effective use of powerful imagery. Owen vividly forces readers to recognise the loss of innocence and the waste of human life, effectively immersing them in the tragic world of the poem. For example, the use of the simile when
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Here, Owen skilfully portrays the ghastly war by the moving image of the soldiers’ families mourning at their loss and their irreconcilable grief all caused by war. For example, Owen’s use of the harsh alliterative ’d’ within the image ’…each slow dusk…blinds’ highlights the devastation and silent suffering experienced by those on the home front. Moreover, the use of the adjective ’slow’ reinforces the responders to visualise the endless and unrelenting torment of the grief-stricken families. Furthermore, the use of the collective noun ’girls’ in the sestet reinforces the silent suffering of those on the homefront who are helpless and forced to endure the pain of grief at such a young age. From these striking images, the responders are forced to not only sympathise for the dead, but also for the poor souls that were left behind and deprived of any sort of human closure. Conversely, in ’Dulce Et Decorum Est’ Owen vehemently denounces traditional values of honour and glory associated with war and how the government used war propaganda to encourage generations of ’boys’ to sacrifice their lives in vitriolic ways. So, in this effect, Owen highlights the way in which humanity has been so obscenely destroyed, by the ruthless and the
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