Wilfred Owen Poem Analysis

1535 words 7 pages
Wilfred Owen’s poetry is shaped by an intense focus on extraordinary human experiences. In at least 2 poems set for study, explore Owen’s portrayal of suffering and pity.

One is to think of war as one of the most honorable and noble services that a man can attend to for his country, it is seen as one of the most heroic ways to die for the best cause. The idea of this is stripped down and made a complete mockery of throughout both of Wilfred Owen’s poems “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and “Anthem for Doomed Youth”. Through his use of quickly shifting tones, horrific descriptive and emotive language and paradoxical metaphors, Owen contradicts the use of war and amount of glamour given towards the idea of it.

The very title itself, “Anthem for
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Just like “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, “Dulce Et Decorum Est” begins with irony within the poem’s title. Translated from Latin into English, ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ simply means “It is sweet and decorous to die for one’s country”. There is irony in the fact that, for a poem which has such a noble title, it starts off with somber, agonizing and bitter tones. Owen portrays the soldiers as prematurely aged, “Bent double like old beggars under sacks” and “coughing like hags”. These similes give an unpleasant, lethargic image to the reader, the idea that all the horrors and terrors of the war cause them to age far beyond their initial physical appearances. The entire first stanza itself is slow paced, with a rhyming scheme of ABAB to give it a dreary, monotonous flow. Visual imagery such as “limped on”, “blood shod” and “drunk with fatigue” promotes the idea of weary and lethargic soldiers, forcefully trying to situate themselves away from the impending dangers of war. The whole point of the somber tone throughout the first stanza is starkly contrasted against with the second stanza. The use of repetition and exclamation marks in “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!” exemplifies the frantic terror faces by the soldiers due to the enemy’s gas attack; causing the short, sharp words to draw in the readers attention to the sudden change in pace. Owen describes the gas throughout his use of metaphors as

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