Wilfred Owen's Poetry

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Wilfred Owen's Poetry

In this essay, I have decided to analyse two poems by the war poet

Wilfred Owen, taken from his writings on the First World War. Both of

these poems ('Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth')

portray Owen's bitter angst towards the war, but do so in very

different ways.

Owen developed many of his poetic techniques at Craiglockhart Military

Hospital, where he spent much of the war as an injured soldier, but it

was only through the influence of fellow soldier and poet, Siegrfried

Sassoon, that he began capturing his vivid visions of the war in the

form of poetry. Many would argue that it was while writing his war

poems, that Owen felt most able to express his ideas on paper, and he

certainly was one of the greatest war poets to have ever lived.

Arguably his most famous poem, 'Dulce et Decorum Est', is a fine

example of his narrative, first-person poems, written through his own

eyes and based on his own experiences and views of the war. Using four

clear stanzas, the poem uses standard, alternate rhyming lines. A

slow, painstaking rhythm is established at the beginning of the poem

through Owen's use of heavy, long words and end-stop lines, in order

to illustrate just how slow and painstaking the war was. The pace then

quickens during the final stanza (a rhythm achieved by the use of

lines with fewer syllables and run-on endings), so that it contrasts

with Owen's poignant conclusion given in the last four lines, drawing

our attention to this particular point, the whole meaning of the poem

as far as the poet is concerned.

"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Bitter as the cud."

In contrast, the second of Owen's poe...

... middle of paper ...

...g off, but not, for the words are too

important and too full of meaning for any reader to scan over. The

funeral is over, and the rhetorical question that the poet asked at

the beginning of the final stanza has been answered, and the noise has

vanished. All is now quiet.

"And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds."

The long, heavy, alliterative 'd' sounds really do drag the ending on,

and draw the poem to a deliberate close.

So these two poems of Wilfred Owen are not completely contrasting, but

are very different in many ways, and even if those differences are

extremely subtle, without them the poems would never be able to fulfil

their purpose. Whether it be to argue a case, or simply to enlighten

the reader, neither would be possible without Owen's extensive

knowledge and use of various poetical techniques and the context that

he puts them in.
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