'All a poet can do is warn'
Contrary to popular beliefs which state that war glorifies patriotism and machoism; Wilfred Owen's 'The War Poems' strips back all that is perceived as good and warns readers of the dark underbelly of war. By targeting all the senses of the readers, Owen is able to reveal the main message that lies beneath all the words of his poetry: war is futile. By examining the warnings and messages Owen tries to convey, not only do the detrimental effects of war on a soldier's mentality become stark; readers are also allowed to immerse themselves into a world filled with war propaganda. In constructing his poetry in such a way, the warnings of the horrors of war act as a deterrent to all of those who still believe the Old Lie: 'Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori'. The War Poems demonstrates a strong correlation between human nature and the nature of war; that although war is intangible, it has the ability to take on human characteristics. This can be observed in 'The Arms and the Boy', where an abrupt and 'malice' transformation takes place. The sultry and seductive tone that embodies the transformation suggests a loss of innocence in the boy as well as a development of a murderous intent. The nature of war which promotes a 'hunger of blood' and a '[famish] for flesh' brings readers to the forefront of war and exposes its unrelenting nature. Moreover, the loss of innocence becomes apparent as the image of 'laughing around an apple' turns to 'blind, blunt, bullet-heads' nuzzling '[into] the hearts of lads'. In presenting a controversial issue in such a way, Owen seeks to uncover the psychological transformation that can be caused by war. Though psychological transformation can be linked to the mental effects of war, Owen also warns readers of the gruesome images that would plague the minds of soldiers on the battlefield. As seen in 'Mental Cases', the soldier's mind had been 'ravished' by the 'multitudinous murders' witnessed. The constant...
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