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How Does “Anthem For Doomed Youth” And “Dulce Et Decorum Est” Present Wilfred Owen’s Thoughts And Feelings Towards The War?

2353 words - 10 pages

How does “Anthem for Doomed Youth” and “Dulce et Decorum Est” present Wilfred Owen’s thoughts and feelings towards the war?
Wilfred Owen was born in Oswestry on 18th March 1893. After school, he became a teaching assistant and in 1913 went to France for two years to work as a language tutor. In 1915 he returned to England to enlist in the army and was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment. After spending the remainder of the year training in England, he left for the western front early in January 1917.
He was diagnosed with shellshock after experiencing heavy fighting and was evacuated to England to recover at Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh in June. Anthem for Doomed Youth ...view middle of the document...

Owen immediately shows his pity for the war in the title of the poem, Anthem for Doomed Youth. The use of the words, “doomed youth,” suggests that Owen believed that the young men signing up for war were destined for death and had no hope of returning home. He may have also been suggesting that the men signing up were far too young to be fighting and that their innocence had been taken away due to the war. In the first line of the poem it says, “passing bells.” This could be referencing the traditional funeral bells played at a person’s funeral. However, soldiers who die at war didn’t get these bells as so many of them died. These men who died for their country, didn’t get an individual funeral on the battlefield due to the vast amount of men who were killed. Owen also goes on the compare the soldiers to, “cattle.” This simile may be trying to suggest that the young men fighting in the war are being sent off blindly to be slaughtered like animals. They may not fully understand why they’re fighting, but are happy to be sent their deaths, like mindless cattle. The first line is a rhetorical question; Owen may have used this to try and make the reader seriously question whether it was right to send young men off to war. From the title and the first line, we get a serious feel of Owen’s views on the war. We can tell straight away that Owen will use this poem to show the universal topic of the terrible costs and realities of all wars, and the how we use funerals at home to try and lighten the death and suffering brought by the war.
Owen uses personification to show how the soldiers are de-humanised in the line, “anger of the guns.” This may convey that the instruments of war are becoming more human as the soldiers emotions are being taken away due to the stress and pain of the war. These men who at first were eager to fight, are now broken. This is a similar message in Dulce et Decorum Est. It describes how the young fit men have changed into, “old beggars.” This suggests to the reader how unglamorous trench life is and how the young men who were so eager to fight have now been weakened. It may also show that the war has changed these men and broken them. Owen also uses a lot of hard descriptive words such as, “coughing like hags,” “marched asleep,” and “limped on”. These are all very hard hitting words which gives emphasis on how the men break under the stresses of war and the ways that bodies get warped by the war.
Owen also tries to suggest to the reader that too many men died, by using the word, “hasty.” This suggests that funerals back home had to be so quick as there were so many deaths. It may also show that because so many people die, they can never properly be mourned, so their deaths have less meaning. This is also shown by the word, “mockeries.” Even though Owen was brought up in a religious home, he may have been trying to suggest that the public religious rituals are nothing but a hollow attempt to justify pointless deaths of so many...

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