Aural and Literary Techniques in Wilfred Owen's Anthem of Doomed Youth and Dulce et Decorum est

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Year 12 Module B – Close Study of Text – Model Essay

How does Owen explore the horror of war through the power of poetry? Refer to at least TWO poems you have studied

Wilfred Owen’s poignant war poetry is emblematic of the horror and brutality of war. His perceptive descriptions capture the true realities of war in a powerful and emotive way and could be representative of any war. The exploration of the horror of war through the power of poetry is effectively shown through ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ through the ironic old world view of the glory of serving one’s country and ‘Anthem of Doomed Youth’ which focuses on the tragedy of the lack of recognition given to those that die on the battlefield. Wilfred Owen’s own experience allows him to describe the true and horrific nature of war through a range of effective poetic devices which resonate with responders, such as figurative language, imagery and structure. Additionally, Wilfred Owen explores the physical and mental devastation of war on the soldiers with veracity and insight which effectively conveys his personal opinion and adds to the power of poetry.

Owen’s exploration of the brutality and futility of war is clearly evident through the powerful descriptive poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’. The forceful poem begins with the use of irony within the title where it alludes to the “old lie” that it was noble and heroic to give up your life for your country. Owen makes this point clearly through the graphic description of the soldier’s during battle. The evocative imagery, shown through the similes in “bent double, like old beggars” and “coughing like hags” and the metaphorical “distant rest” reflecting the lack of escape from the tragedies of war, contrasts to that of the traditional glory of war espoused by the world leaders at the time which clearly angered Owen. Similarly, Owen’s obvious resentment is shown further through his warning “my friend, you would not tell with such high zest/to children...
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