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Wilfred Owen Essay

1362 words - 6 pages

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born on the 18th of March 1883. Owen was a soldier and war poet. Most of Owens poems have been written from his own personal experience of war. Owen passed away on the 14th of November at the age of 25. He died somber in his home town of Owestry, Shropshire. In this essay I will be exploring how futility is shown in exposure, dulce et decorum est and futility.

The title of each poem is what the reader first sees and interprets a view about the poems. Each of the poems have a distinctive meaning. The title futility means the pointlessness of war and the pointlessness of life and the pointlessness of war. The title exposure has a double meaning as it is cohesive. The first meaning is how young men have been exposed to the lies of the government propaganda; the second meaning is how the soldiers have been exposed to the terrible weather conditions during the war. Dulce et decorum est translates into “it is sweet and right to die for ones country”, however the title itself is ironic.

In futility Owen has used a rhetorical question. In stanza two of futility, “was it for this clay grew tall”. Owens’s asking; what is the point of life? The quote is referring to genesis 2:7 “and the lord God formed man of the dust of the ground”. Owen is asking is loving god futile. During Owens time in the war the soldiers would ask god for help however when god did not help them the soldiers felt that putting trust in god would be futile. The soldier in futility has lost all hope in god. The soldier feels that because god is not bringing his dead comrade back to life it would be futile to have hope in god as god does not fulfill his wish.

Furthermore in futility the idea that the ‘sun’ could bring a dead man back to life was ‘fatuous’ and ‘futile’. Men during world war one joined the army because of some promise of heroism made by the government which convinced them that they needed to prove there bravery to their country.
Owens last question is what made the sun/god give life to the man at all if he was going to ultimately take it away.

In futility the soldier is referred to as ‘he’. The purpose of this is to represent the soldiers who suffered the same fate. During world war one the number of soldiers who were murdered was huge therefore the soldier remains nameless to show the mass number of soldiers who died thereupon truly showing the horrors of war.
The sun is a form of nature in futility but mostly represents ‘god’. In the second stanza the sun is referred to as ‘kind’. The purpose of this is to allow the reader to see how much hope the soldier had in god but once god did not ‘rouse’ the soldier there hope in god was lost.

Futility is written in sonnet structure, this suggests that it was a response from Owen to some patriotic nature of some war poetry. Sonnets are usually love poems however Owen has used the sonnet structure to display the hate he as for the war. In the last stanza of futility ‘o what fatous sunbeams toil to...

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