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Wilfred Owen's Attitude Towards World War 1 As Shown In His Poetry

2378 words - 10 pages

What is Wilfred Owen’s attitude towards Worlds War 1 and how is this shown through his poetry?
You should comment upon and compare at least two of his poems and describe the tone he writes in the imagery he uses and the poetical techniques he includes to convey his opinions.
Wilfred Owen was born in Shropshire on 18th March 1893. He was the son of a railway worker and was educated at schools in Shrewsbury and Liverpool. Wilfred was encouraged to write poetry from an early age by his devoted mother. He couldn't afford university education, so decided to go abroad to teach English in France. Owen then volunteered for the Army in 1914 when the First World War was in action. After training he became an officer and was sent to France at the end of 1916, seeing services. The following year, Owen took part in the attacks on the German Hindenburg. When a huge shell burst near him, he was shell-shocked and sent back to England.
I have chosen this poem because this is his most famous poem, 'Dulce et Decorum est' is an example of a poem written through his own eyes, based on his own experiences and views of the war. He uses surreal and graphic imagery to give the reader the exact feeling that he wanted. He emphasises his point, showing that war is terrible and devastating. This poem conveys a strong meaning and persuasive argument. This poem uses four stanzas and an alternate rhyming line scheme.

'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' is a quotation from the Latin poet Horace, meaning 'It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country.' During the First World War, countries made use of mustard gas because it reacted with the water in the lungs and effectively dissolved the ones the inhaled the gas. The effect of the use of these gasses was horrific. In this poem Owen discusses an incident in which a soldier dies because of gas.
The second poem that I have decided to pick is 'Anthem for Doomed Youth,' also written by Wilfred with assistance from Sassoon. It can be easily described, as it is a sonnet. It has fourteen lines, divided up into two movements. The first and fourth lines rhyme, so do the second and third and it ends on a couplet. The first stanza is mainly about the battlefield, whereas the second stanza is more about the reactions of friends and family back at home. By using a sonnet, a touch of irony is used. This sonnet has a theme of a love that has turned bad. The young men spend all there time rotting in the wastes of the trenches, only to be mown down by a machine gun nest, then going back home to there home dead. Not only are their lives wasted, gone without the holy ritual of funeral, but the lives of their loved ones at home are also ruined.

‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks’
The opening two words on the first sentence are 'Bent double’ this is a hyperbole which creates the impression of the intense exhaustion and the image that is created that the soldiers have no energy left and are in excruciating...

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