A comparison of poems by Wilfred Owen, 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'.

Authors Avatar

A comparison of poems by Wifred Owen

A comparison of poems by Wilfred Owen:

'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'

When I was searching for two poems to compare, I saw these two poems and wanted to explore them to find out how Wifred Owen uses language in different ways to warn future generations of the horror of war.

Wilfred Owen fought in the First World War. He enlisted as most young men were doing, so that they could protect Britain. However, in the trenches he realized how horrific the war was and started to make notes about the conditions at first. Then later in a military hospital he edited and collected these notes into the poetry of Wifred Owen.

'Dulce et Decorum Est' is Latin for: It is sweet and fitting (to die for one's country). This line is repeated at the end and by the principles of 'Chaldeni.' I know that by repeating a line at the beginning and the end it is most remembered. This line needs to be remembered as the poem is based on the idea of it as 'the old lie' mocking the established belief of nationalism and duty to your country. Also, it is mocking the established authoritative language of Latin that was reserved for the courts and churches. The line is sarcastic as Owen has now himself seen a gas attack and a man drown 'under a green sea', and has found out that dying out there in a far off land was a waste of a life and is completely pointless.

Join now!

How can it be sweet and fitting to die for your country if no one knows about your death?

Similarly the line from 'Anthem for Doomed Youth':

'What passing bells for those who die as cattle?'

raises the same question - Who cares about these men that die deaths like cattle that are just bred for their slaughter?

'Anthem for Doomed Youth' is a sonnet. Sonnets traditionally were happy and about love or an epic tale. In contrast, Owen uses the rigid structure of a sonnet (two quatrains and a sextet) to contrast with the ...

This is a preview of the whole essay