What is Wilfred Owen trying to express in his war poetry?

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WWI Poetry Analysis

What is Wilfred Owen trying to express about war in his poetry?

Ever since a fledgling age, Wilfred Owen has expressed keen interest in poetry and planned to pursue it further as an adult.  His gift and deftness in poetry allowed him to write moving poems with strong imageries and unique tones to convey his messages proficiently.  However until he met Siegfried Sassoon, he needed a subject to be passionate about as a main theme of his poem collections;  in the end, war became the subject matter of this prodigy’s poems.

Objectively, Owen aims to use his poem as a media to enlighten British civilians who are under the illusion of war patriotism as a result of deceptive propagandas.  He intended to reveal the horrors by expressing the pain and sufferings which soldiers experience day by day in war and at the same time, he protested against the government for blinding civilians from the realities of war.  Realism is another key aspect of his poems which resulted from Sassoon’s mentorship.  Following Sassoon’s supervision, Owen took his persuasive language to the next level by writing based on reality; his actual experiences in war.  Additionally, Sassoon’s influence instilled in his poems an element of satire and sarcasm which further expressed his vexation towards readers in a more humanly fashion which brings the poem down to a personal level which allows readers to discern it more emotionally than rationally.  Effectively, Owen is not only able to gain empathy, but also sympathy from the readers;  this in itself is the central concept of his poems, just as he famously quoted ‘the pity of war’.  The spectrum of messages Owen strives to express is very broad, likewise the techniques used to convey them diverges even more expansively.  One reasonably narrow focus which could be analyzed exhaustively is the simple yet striking imagery of blood which Owen succeeds to articulate exotically in various contexts in different poems.

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One poem which stands out among Owen’s collection is Dulce et Decorum est, which is a poem about a gas warfare in the British frontline trenches.  Within the poem lies a finely composed string of horrifying imageries complemented with exceptional musicality to support Owen’s expression.  Across the entire piece, Owen blasts readers with horrifying vivid imageries of war usually unimaginable by readers in order to expose them to the reality of war. “Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod” is a quote extracted from an opening stanza in the poem.  Owen states that a significant number of ...

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