Wilfred Owen Essay

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How does Wilfred Owen convey his central concerns about war in his poetry?

Powerful poetic devices allow one to convey his or her themes strongly. Wilfred Owen uses poetic devices in order to allow him to convey his central concern, the terror of war. Both “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and “Mental Cases” conveys concerns of pity towards human torture by the horrifying events in war. His poems show a journey of how many children had lost their lives which horrified him. It is evident that poetic devices allow one to convey his or her themes effectively by the way poets use them.

Owen uses poetic devices in all his poems to convey his pitiful concerns leading to the theme of horror. “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, Latin for ‘it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country’ gives a sense of pity as governmental politics enrols unexperienced children to a field where only the fittest survive. Owen use techniques to generate a graphical journey in our minds to draws us into his poem physically. He uses simile to describe the youth ‘like old beggars under sacks’, ‘coughing like hags’ as they are ‘cursed through sludge’. Owen conveys his concern of pity about the youth through simile as these ‘old beggars’ are the young generations of Australia that had been sent to war. He then metaphorically describes them as ‘drunk with fatigue’, ‘men marched asleep’, to highlight their exhaustion and their physical status, unable to keep up. Owen descriptively says that they ‘limped on’ cause of ‘blood shos’ which highlights the graphical image. In result these images convey the pitiful concerns about the youth, by use of descriptive techniques.

Similarly in “Mental Cases”, Owen conveys the concern of pity for the youth that was sacrificed in WW1 for no result, just lost of self control. Owen uses oxymoron to describe the surviving youth as ‘hilarious, hideous’. Oxymoron highlights the image of these mentals as ‘hilarious’ but ‘hideous’ almost ironic. Owen then rhetorically ask ‘but who...
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