Aural and Literary Techniques in Wilfred Owen’s

2 February 2017

How does Owen explore the horror of war through the power of poetry? Refer to at least TWO poems you have studied Wilfred Owen’s poignant war poetry is emblematic of the horror and brutality of war. His perceptive descriptions capture the true realities of war in a powerful and emotive way and could be representative of any war.

The exploration of the horror of war through the power of poetry is effectively shown through ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ through the ironic old world view of the glory of serving one’s country and ‘Anthem of Doomed Youth’ which focuses on the tragedy of the lack of recognition given to those that die on the battlefield. Wilfred Owen’s own experience allows him to describe the true and horrific nature of war through a range of effective poetic devices which resonate with responders, such as figurative language, imagery and structure.Additionally, Wilfred Owen explores the physical and mental devastation of war on the soldiers with veracity and insight which effectively conveys his personal opinion and adds to the power of poetry. Owen’s exploration of the brutality and futility of war is clearly evident through the powerful descriptive poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’. The forceful poem begins with the use of irony within the title where it alludes to the “old lie” that it was noble and heroic to give up your life for your country.Owen makes this point clearly through the graphic description of the soldier’s during battle. The evocative imagery, shown through the similes in “bent double, like old beggars” and “coughing like hags” and the metaphorical “distant rest” reflecting the lack of escape from the tragedies of war, contrasts to that of the traditional glory of war espoused by the world leaders at the time which clearly angered Owen.

Aural and Literary Techniques in Wilfred Owen’s Essay Example

Similarly, Owen’s obvious resentment is shown further through his warning “my friend, you would not tell with such high zest/to children ardent for some desperate glory/the old lie” which adds further weight to his sarcastic view of World War I propaganda. Akin to this, is the personal nature of the poem where Owen states metaphorically through the use of first person that “as under a green sea, I saw him drowning/in all my dreams before my helpless sight” hat long after the war is over, the soldiers, himself included, will continue to be haunted by the horrific occurrences of the brutality of death at the hands of “gas-shells dropping. ” Furthermore, the gruesome onomatopoeic “gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs” contradicts and clearly negates the notion of the glory and romantic view of war and it is through these ideas that Owen is veraciously able to use the power of poetry to aptly describe the horrors of war. Similarly, to the descriptive representation of the realities of war shown in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is the sad realities of war in ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’.Within this poem, Owen reflects anger towards the fact that these young and innocent soldiers were granted no proper funeral. This point is supported through the rhetorical question “what passing-bells for these who die like cattle? ” where Owen powerfully utilises simile to collectively dehumanise the young, innocent and nameless men as they get no recognition for the service they pay for their countries through the funerals they would have had otherwise. Furthermore, Owen’s anger is apparent through the juxtaposition of the words “Anthem”, “Doomed” and “Youth” in the title.

The irony and sarcasm is clearly depicted here as he highlights the notion that these young and innocent men should be celebrated because of their sacrifice, but instead they are condemned to die with only “the shrill, demented choirs” rather than with the “drawing down of blinds”. The antithetical depiction of the battle funerals and the traditional funerals help reflect the bitterness felt by Wilfred Owen and the lack of respect paid to these young men. Moreover, Owen effectively utilises the structure of a sonnet as an extended metaphor to further highlight the point that he was making about the futile and destructive nature of war.The first octave reflects a tone of misery and contempt because there would be “no mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells” which is then contrasted in the second stanza into a tone of sympathy and compassion reflected metaphorically through “their flowers the tenderness of patient minds”. The structure further emphasises Wilfred Owen’s disappointment at the unrecognised deaths of the soldiers who valiantly died for their country and it is Owen’s ability to powerfully convey the sadness and futility of war that makes this poem resonate with audiences in a range of contexts.Wilfred Owen cleverly and effectively utilises the power of poetry to convey the horror and brutal nature of war. In particular his thematic focus on the futility of war is clearly evident through his use of irony and sarcasm in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ and the fact that he could not understand the justification for sending young, innocent soldiers to die so horrifically.

Furthermore, his personal perspective juxtaposed with strong and evocative imagery greatly emphasises the point he was making about the horrors of war.Similarly, his anger at the lack of recognition shown to these soldiers in ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ is apparent as he contrasts the respectable and traditional funerals with the battlefield funerals and the fact that these young men would not get the commemoration they deserved. It is through the power of effective poetry that enables Wilfred Owen to convey the horrors and brutality of war in such a way that resonates with audiences in varying contexts.

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