Wilfred Owen Anthem for Doomed Youth Analysis

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Wilfred Owen Anthem for Doomed Youth Analysis

By | April 2013
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Anthem of the Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen

The poem I chose to study is "Anthem of the doomed youth" by Wilfred Owen. Wilfred Owen, the son of a railway worker, was born in Plas Wilmot, near Oswestry, on 18th March, 1893. Owen's youthful illusion of the glory of fighting as a soldier was reflected in his words to his mother on his return to England shortly before volunteering for the army..."I now do most intensely want to fight." In the summer of 1917 Owen was badly concussed at the Somme after a shell landed just two yards away. After several days in a bomb crater with the mangled corpse of a fellow officer, Owen was diagnosed as suffering from shell shock. While recovering at Craig Lockhart War Hospital he met the poet Siegfried Sassoon. Owen showed Sassoon his poetry, who advised and encouraged him. So also did another writer at the hospital, Robert Graves. Sassoon suggested that Owen should write in a more direct, colloquial style and thus guided him into writing "Anthem for the doomed youth" amongst several other poems he wrote during his stay at the hospital.

"Anthem for a doomed youth" it is a Shakespearean sonnet with a rhyming scheme of abab cdcd effe gg. It's a very traditional format, which isn't surprising as Siegfried Sassoon, a very experienced and traditional poet, collaborated with Owen to write this much thought out piece. Because the poem was a collaboration, the style stands out from many of his other pieces of work, as this is more traditional to what Owen would have normally written. In most cases, sonnets take their title from the first line; in this case the first line sets the mood for the reader by starting off with a question that the poet then proceeds to answer. Though the poem is war based, the title itself suggests innocence with "youth" which may suggest a connection with the church, as an anthem is a choral composition. However, the word "doomed" also adds a sinister touch to the sonnet which...