Wilfred Owen

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In your view, what is a distinctive idea explored in Wilfred Owen’s poetry? Explain how this idea is developed in at least TWO poems you have studied.

Wilfred Owen was an exceptional poet of his time. Within Owen’s poetry it is explored that war is a gruelling and endearing situation to come across as well as participate within. Owen’s portrayal of his experiences of war and the battlefield break down the propaganda of the day and result in his perspective of the futility of war. Owen is able to transport the reader into the world of his poetry by presenting horrific situations, which demand a response from the reader. This allows for Owen’s perspective on war to come through. It successfully does this through the poems ‘Mental Cases’ and ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’.

Owen’s poetry often strictly opposed to the mainstream propaganda of the day in particular the messages of ‘Mental Cases’ and ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ are focused on dismantling the pro-war propaganda. In ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’. the title and final line allude to a patriotic poem by Ancient Roman crato ‘Horace’. “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mari” is translated as “It is sweet and honourable to die for ones country”, demonstrating Owen’s distrust of the propaganda. The capitalisation of the world “lie” demonstrates the way the pro-war propaganda was imposing and dominating in Owen’s society. Similarly, ‘Mental Cases’ presents a sharp contrast between the realities of the battlefield and the ceremonial burials of people back home.

Wilfred Owen is able to persuade his readers that war is futile, by depicting the horrors of the battlefield and the effects it has on its soldiers. As a solider himself, Owen is able to bring the battlefield alive. He offers more than an insight to the conditions faced by men. He offers and opinion of the wastefulness and destructiveness of lives, which goes against the propaganda of the day. The realistic image of battle conditions are presented clearly in ‘Dulce Et...
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