Anthem for Doomed Youth Commentary Wilfred Owen

1189 words 5 pages
The sonnet ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth', by Wilfred Owen, criticizes war. The speaker is Wilfred Owen, whose tone is first bitter, angry and ironic. Then it's filled with intense sadness and an endless feeling of emptiness. The poet uses poetic techniques such as diction, imagery, and sound to convey his idea. The title, ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth', gives the first impression of the poem. An ‘anthem', is a song of praise, perhaps sacred, so we get the impression that the poem might me about something religious or joyous. However, the anthem is for ‘Doomed Youth' which is obviously negative. The title basically summarizes what the poem is; a mixture of thoughts related to religion and death, irony, and cynicism. The poem doesn't slowly …show more content…

Throughout the sonnet, Owen has used two rhetorical questions: one at the beginning of the octet and one at the beginning of the sestet.
The diction and the actual poetic techniques used in the poem all have strong effects and increase the power of the poem. The poet uses a rhetorical question in the beginning of both sections of the poem. This gives the reader an idea of what the whole section is going to be about, because he answers the questions himself throughout the sections, and then expands his thoughts. Furthermore, by asking the questions, he is questioning war and religion. The poet uses personification, alliteration, and onomatopoeia all in just two lines: ‘…Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle...'

The fury and evilness of the guns is presented to us with the personification ‘monstrous anger of the guns'. This is important as it basically gives us the lasting impression that guns, or the actual people behind the war are terribly vice, and the guns, or the soldiers are furious. The onomatopoeia ‘stuttering rifles' actually sounds like the guns, so you feel like you are in the battlefield. That feeling is continued, making you feel like there are endless gun shots coming towards you, with the alliteration ‘riles' rapid rattle'. The poet uses alliteration many more times in the poem and creates strong effects: In the eighth line, ‘…sad shires', the