The Horrors of World War 1 Are Vividly Expressed in the Poems of Wilfred Owen. Discuss.

The Horrors of World War 1 Are Vividly Expressed in the Poems of Wilfred Owen. Discuss.

  • Submitted By: CamilleriMt
  • Date Submitted: 01/24/2009 5:07 AM
  • Category: English
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The horrors of World War 1 are vividly expressed in the poems of Wilfred Owen. Discuss.

Owen’s war poetry is a passionate expression of outrage at the horrors of war as well as pity for the young soldiers who were sacrificed during the war. His poetry is dramatic and memorable, and this is achieved in a number of ways. Whether describing physical horror, such as in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ or the unseen, mental torment being suffered by the soldier in ‘Disabled’, his use of instantly effective and understandable imagery and technique is what makes him the most memorable of the war poets. His work evokes disgust and sympathy, as well as draws our attention to issues that were not considered previously.

Many of Owen’s poems share resentment towards the generals and those who have encouraged war at home, in England. ‘Disabled’ has a very bitter tone – ‘Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts’. ‘His Meg’ didn’t stay with the soldier after he joined to ‘please’ her, presumably because she is with a ‘stong man’ who is ‘whole’. In ‘The Send Off’ and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, the prayers and flowers for the soldiers are mocked by Owen, because he regards them as useless offerings to men who are being sent to their deaths.

Owen sympathises profusely with the vain young men who have no idea of the horrors of war, and who are ‘seduced’ by others and the recruiting posters. He bitterly rejects the patriotic reasoning for war behind the slogan in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’. The fact that the soldiers eagerly join the army for vanities makes their situation all the more tragic. This is depicted in ‘Disabled’ – ‘he threw away his knees’ and ‘Smiling they wrote his lie: aged nineteen years’ where the officials no only accept this under age boy for recruitment, but smile knowingly while they do it. In ‘The Send Off’ a lack of support for these men is suggested by Owen. The young men are to give up their lives as a sacrifice for their country, however their leaving...

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