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Choose two poems by Wilfred Owen. Write an essay exploring what you feel is effective and interesting about the way war is presented.

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Introduction

Choose two poems by Wilfred Owen. Write an essay exploring what you feel is effective and interesting about the way war is presented. Owen's war poetry is a passionate expression of outrage at the horrors of war and of pity for the young soldiers sacrificed in it. It is extremely dramatic, whether describing physical horror, such as in 'Dulce et Decorum Est' or the unseen, mental torment such as in 'Disabled'. His diverse use of instantly understandable imagery and technique is what makes him the most memorable of the war poets. His poetry evokes more from us than simple disgust and sympathy; issues previously unconsidered are brought to our attention. Arguably his most famous poem, 'Dulce et Decorum Est', is a fine example of his narrative, first-person poems, written through his own eyes and based on his own experiences and views of the war. Using four clear stanzas, the poem uses standard, alternate rhyming lines. A slow, painstaking rhythm is established at the beginning of the poem through Owen's use of heavy, long words and end-stop lines, in order to illustrate just how slow and painstaking the war was. The pace then quickens during the final stanza (a rhythm achieved by the use of lines with fewer syllables and run-on endings), so that it contrasts with Owen's poignant conclusion ...read more.

Middle

The very title 'Anthem for Doomed Youth,' with anthems usually being associated with love and passion, is very deliberately ironic, a way Owen shows how ridiculous he really thought the war was. The fact that the 'cattle' he speaks of aren't actually getting proper burials, just horrific mass burials, if any, just shows how Owen's irony in giving them their only real burial, only highlights the huge, and, in Owen's opinion, crazy sacrifice that the soldiers gave. Some argue that all of Owen's war poems are extremely opinionated, and even, in extreme cases, of a propagandist nature, but most people agree that although Owen's poetry was very opinionated, he was just expressing his views, and showing those at home what the war was actually like. For much of Owen's work was not published until after the war, and indeed his death, so the only rewards Owen could possibly gain were to satisfy his own need to clear his mind of the horrors he had witnessed on the battlefield. And although 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is possibly the finest piece of war poetry ever written, it is only a detailed account of war life, not forcing the reader into believing his view of the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

The funeral is over, and the rhetorical question that the poet asked at the beginning of the final stanza has been answered, and the noise has vanished. All is now quiet. "And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds." The long, heavy, alliterative 'd' sounds really do drag the ending on, and draw the poem to a deliberate close. Owen uses the idea of irony in war in both of these poems as he saw misery, destruction, and pain and wanted people to be more aware of the cruelty of war and hopefully to stop it from happening again. Both poems have an alternate line rhyming scheme. 'Anthem.' uses the form of a sonnet to portray a distressing message that flows slowly as you would imagine a funeral march. 'Dulce.' also has a distressing message but is portrayed in contradiction to its title. The idea of nationalism, and much it's worth is explored. So these two poems of Wilfred Owen are not completely contrasting, but are very different in many ways, and even if those differences are extremely subtle, without them the poems would never be able to fulfil their purpose. Whether it be to argue a case, or simply to enlighten the reader, neither would be possible without Owen's extensive knowledge and use of various poetical techniques and the context that he puts them in. ...read more.

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