In this essay I will be analysing two poems ‘Dulce et decorum est’ and ‘Futility’. The two poems will show how Wilfred Owen shows futility of war in each poem. Wilfred Owen was one of the leading poets of the First World War. He was born on the 18th March 1983 and was killed in action on 4th November 1918. During his time in war he wrote many powerful poems; the conditions they lived in and how futile it was.
During war propagandists publicised war as daring and heroic, encouraging families to send their sons to join the army. The glorification of war is reflected in the Latin notion; ‘Dulce et decorum est propatria mori’ meaning it is sweet and noble to die for ones country. Owen illustrates this by labelling it as the ‘old lie’. Men were tricked into war considering that after war, they may have a chance of having possessions such as fame and riches. This persuaded males to go out and sign for the war at that time most people were poor and were willing to do anything for fame and riches. Government spreaded propaganda across the areas as they demanded men to join the army this was because their country was in danger. In addition to this, throughout the war millions of soldiers experienced and lived the horrors of trench warfare. Conditions in the trenches were shocking. Soldiers had to live there in all weathers. In winter, trenches flooded, and sometimes froze. The outcome of wet conditions and poor hygiene had left soldiers suffering from ‘trench foot’. Whilst experiencing the horrors of war and how futile it was, Owen frequently wrote back home to his mother. Owens letters to his mother Susan Owen were an insight to his life in war, and he expressed the horrors of war by describing what other soldiers went through, this illustrated that war was futile and war was just an image of horror and it would stick with you for eternity.
The title of the poem immediately reveals that irony is used, ’Dulce et decorum est’, meaning it is sweet and noble to die for ones country. The poem focuses on the extreme dreadful events which had been taking place while the soldiers were present. The poem describes a gas attack in a trench in world war one. The poem illustrates to the reader the terrible consequences of a gas attack ’the blood coming gargling from the froth corrupted lungs’ this is a very descriptive image that would probably make anyone sick to their stomach if they actually had to see it first hand. This is an image that would stick with someone for a long time, haunting their memories. Owen explores the theme tragedy and shows how futile war is when a gas attack hits and the suffering becomes so extreme that no one is enabled to help you.
Moving on Owen describes soldiers and their terrible conditions in war, ‘men marched asleep’ reveals to the reality of war and its terrible consequences. Owen illustrates the conditions of men by using personification so it gives the reader a visual image. Owen conveys to the readers that men did not have...