Wilfred Owen

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Wilfred Owen’s poetry portrays the suffering and pain of war through the exploration of human experience and portrays the war as hopeless and futile. Whilst he doesn’t focus completely on the destruction caused by war, Owen also condemns those who send young men to war by false propaganda.

Propaganda posters and media promoted idealistic notions of patriotism, duty, adventure and glory to tell the lie that ‘Ducle et decorum est’. (DEDE) the ironic intertextuality of the title from the ancient Roman poet, Horace’s work (DEDE) is translated from Latin to English to mean that” its sweet and honourable to die for one’s country”. Owen clearly dismisses this notion in (DEDE) .Owen uses techniques to expose the truth about war. Owen conveys the soldier’s suffering in the trenches as they are exasperated by fatigue and exhaustion using cacophony and Imagery “knock kneed, bent-double, coughing like hags”. The once young and strong men are compared to “old beggars under sacks” conveying their physical and mental exhaustion. The onomatopoeia of “sludge” and “trudge” implies their crude fighting conditions and hasten the unfolding of actions. Owen enables the reader to experience the actions and sounds of the war first-hand which further help to demystify its glory by using descriptive verbs such as “stumbling”, “yelling”, “fumbling” and “drowning”. (DEDE) modified sonnet structure creates irony as it subverts the conventional romantic themes of sonnets. The irony enhances Owen’s depiction of war as he uses it to mock those who believe that war is glorious. Owen compares the features of the Western Front and reactions of relatives at home to the ceremonial service of a funeral. Owen begins to express the despair of war in the title; an anthem is a song of praise although this idea is ironically used to form the idea that due to war youth is lost. Owen recreates the dehumanising, wasteful deaths of war. Negative and emotive words have been chosen to invoke pity, empathy...
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