Wilfred Owen's Poetry and War Essay

Wilfred Owen's Poetry and War Essay

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Wilfred Owen's Poetry and War


Wilfred Owen is now seen as one of the most important of the many
poets of the First World War. He was born the son of a railway worker
in Shropshire, and educated at schools in Shrewsbury and Liverpool.
His devoted mother encouraged his early interests in music and poetry.
When he could not afford a university education, he went abroad to
teach English in France. He was there when war broke out in 1914, and
decided to return to England to volunteer for the army.

After training, he became an officer and was sent to France at the end
of 1916, seeing service first in the Somme sector. In spring 1917, he
took part in the attacks on the German Hindenburg Line near St
Quentin. When a huge shell burst near him, he was shell-shocked and
sent back to England. The horrors of battle dramatically changed him
from the youth of August 1914, who had felt 'the guns will effect a
little useful weeding'.

From his experiences, Owen was able to write very graphic and
realistic poems, to show his reader the true atrocities of war. Three
of his poems that show different aspects of war are; 'Anthem for
Doomed Youth', 'Dulce et Decorum Est', and 'The Send-Off'.

The poem 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', is a long comparison between the
elaborate ceremonial of a Victorian-style funeral, and the way in
which men go to their death on the western front. The poem is written
in the form of a sonnet, and has a very traditional format. Owen wrote
in this way mostly due to the influence of the poet Siegfried Sassoon,
whose experience and high education helped him greatly during this
period. The poem is made up of fourteen lines, and follows the rhyme
scheme abab, cdcd, effe, gg.

The title of the poem ...


... middle of paper ...


...st; the
contrasting 'lie' of the phrase 'Dulce et Decorum Est, Pro patria
mori', the contrast of elaborate Victorian funerals and the way in
which men go to death, in Anthem for Doomed youth, and in The
Send-off, the contrast of the phrase 'grimly-gay', to imply a sense of
guilt and conspiracy to the poem.

The three poems that I have studied, all show different aspects of
war, and have many similarities and comparisons. However, they were
all written with the same intention and opinion, by a soldier who had
first-hand experience of the front line, and as such would not be
duped by the media's portrayal of war as romantic and heroic.

I think that the overall message Owen is trying to portray, is that
the atrocity of war should be considered utterly senseless, brutal,
and inhumane, and avoided at all costs, no matter what the situation
happens to be.

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