How Wilfred Owen Uses Language and Imagery in His Poetry to Communicate his Attitudes of War

How Wilfred Owen Uses Language and Imagery in His Poetry to Communicate his Attitudes of War

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How Wilfred Owen Uses Language and Imagery in His Poetry to Communicate his Attitudes of War

Wilfred Owen was concerned to emphasise the hardships and trials of
the soldiers who fought in the First World War. Wilfred Owen, who died
subsequently after receiving mortal wounds while in combat in the war,
had some strong viewpoints and messages about war which he tried to
convey through his poetry. He had three main viewpoints which included
most or all of his feelings. These were firstly, that war is futile
and pointless; secondly that men lose their humanity and dignity
through war; finally, he wants combat the Government propaganda that
painted a sweet picture of war. He wanted to convey a message
expressing the reality, horror and futility of war. He also felt
strongly towards the idea that the generals and offices treated the
ordinary soldiers with contempt and didn't care for them. He also felt
that the soldiers were treated like insignificant pawns in a game
which they didn't know the rules to. Further he tried to attack the
blind patriotism or jingoism, which is basically people who believe in
the idea that their country and leaders are always right that they are
happily willing to die for them.

Owen highlights the horrific conditions in which the soldiers fought
to show the futility of war. In the poem 'The Sentry' he describes the
rain as "guttering down in waterfalls of slime", the use of the made
up word of "guttering" to add huge emphasis to the extent of downpour
through mimicking 'gutter'. Also the use of the colloquial language,
"waterfalls" and "slime" adds extra power to almost unbearable
conditions these men had to fi...


... middle of paper ...


... in the poem 'Dulce et
Decorum est' by writing

"Bent double like old beggars under sacks"

This shows how the once proud lively young men have been reduced to
being aged, crippled and filthy.

Another matter that Owen tries to deal with through his poetry is that
he wants to combat the Government propaganda. He does this very
effectively and bluntly in the last lines of the poem 'Dulce et
Decorum est',

"My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old lie; Dulce et Decorum est

Pro patria mori."

This is simply expressing that if anyone had been in the war they
would not tell young men the same story as the Government propaganda
which tells of the glories of dying for their country as they would
realise the reality and true horror of war.

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