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Examine the way two poems by Wilfred Owen show the real horrors of war.

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Introduction

Examine the way two poems by Wilfred Owen show the real horrors of war. On the 1st August 1914: Germany declared war on Great Britain. The war was to end at Christmas, with a clear victory for Britain. However, it was soon apparent that this was not true and the severity of war was ever growing into what seemed an un-realistic triumph against the advancing German troops. Christmas had come and gone and attitudes towards the war were slowly beginning to deteriorate. The government answered the crisis with a huge propaganda machine which continuously pumped bravura images of war into the British people's minds. War was portrayed to seem glorious and enjoyable. At the start of the First World War, war was exposed as a glorious and credible cause. Fighting for your country was deemed as the duty of any credible man. Being able to represent your country on the battlefield was the greatest honor a man could have. Through the intervention of war, there was an outcry of patriotism. Men were engulfed with idea of being able to fight for their country's future. People even began to think that governing their country came before themselves. Men used to fall over themselves when signing up to fight for their country. Even women used to force their husband and sons to go and do their duty, which was to fight. Patriotism is when you show love, affection and pride towards your country when you are ready to die for your country. At this time poetry was written to encourage men to go and fight, propagandist poets like Jessie Pope wrote persuasive and fun war poetry to enforce this glorified view of war. The image, views and attitudes towards war depleted somewhat over the course of time. The patriotic ideals and the concept of war were all dismantled when soldiers returned from war and spoke of the horrors of it contained. ...read more.

Middle

However, now no women will look or interact with him. This also builds on the tension felt by the reader because the boy has now been rejected, and we almost feel like he has been abandoned by everyone. The boy's rejection is highlighted when Owen speaks of the boys visitors. At the nursing home, the man's only visitor is; "...a solemn man..." We automatically assume that the solemn man mentioned is a vicar. This adds to the thought that the boy is waiting to die and almost as if his death is lingering. Owen is openly opposing and stressing upon the lies told by the propagandists, as the reader we are once again stunned by Owen because we would normally presume that soldiers would die a heroic death. The visitor is not said to take any real notice of the boy dying, there is no evidence of praise or pity. It is as if the man (vicar) is there out of duty and nothing more. The image of the vicar also, makes one think of churches and services. A service which could easily be his funeral. The closing stanza is again about the subject of the boy dying. The verse is morbid and blunt. The last verse again tries to make the reader pity the subject. "Now he will spend a few sick years in institutes..." The use of the word few suggests he has little time, and the use of the word sick implies those years will almost not be worth living. Owen is once again highlighting the boys need to die. The use of the word institute, gives the reader a feeling of tradition and routine. But we know that the routine is clearly because he cannot look and take of himself. This provokes sympathy from the reader because we feel empathy for the boy. The idea of routine is stressed upon again in the following lines, "And do what things the rules consider wise, And take whatever pity they may dole." ...read more.

Conclusion

The last few lines are rather like moral, this being that war does not free and liberate people but it can only however, pursue to oppress innocent people like me and you. The sentences inform the reader that they shouldn't speak highly of war. As it is clearly nothing to be spoken highly off. Owen is aiming his principals at peopling such as propagandists as these were the people that glorified the image of war therefore resulting in young men conscripting themselves to the British army and signing away there precious lives. "My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." The word "Lie" begins with the letter "L" displayed as a capital letter. This emphasizes the fact that the phrase that follows it is a lie and should be regarded as nothing else. The above quotes are specifically addressed to propagandists such as 'Jessie Pope' Owen was trying to stress the lies she told to the British public. Owen evidently feels that war is not glorious at all quite the contrary. This is clearly seen through his poetry as he clearly depicts the horrors of war. By saying that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country is a lie, Owen is openly challenges the adage that war is glorious and that it should be praised accordingly. Owen is obviously trying to look out for the people of the future and notify them that war is not bravura and glorious and that this can be seen and heard through his first hand experiences of war. Throughout the poem 'Dulce et Decorum est' Owen aims to degrade war, and shed the real truth about it. Owen does this by depicting the terrors it holds. Owen intensely describes gas attacks, the true image of soldiers and the accurate and truthful way in which soldiers were buried. Owen conveys graphical and powerful images that shock the reader because we do not know of the physical and mental suffering that the young soldiers had to endure. ...read more.

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