Wilfred Owen Techniques

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Wilfred Owen was a captain of the British army and he witnessed the atrocities of war first hand, thus his poetry portrays war as a dehumanising and horrific event. Owen wanted to inform and awaken readers about what war was really like. On his poetry he used techniques like similes, metaphors, imagery and personification for example to enlighten readers. His poems “Dolce Et Decorum Est” and “Anthem for Doomed Youth” are significant in conveying his negative attitudes towards the effects of war on soldiers. The poem “Dolce Et Decorum Est” has powerful poetic techniques to depict death in war as a brutal and horrifying experience. This poem portrays the horrific sights, sounds and feelings of a soldier who experiences a horrific death caught in a gas attack. The first line and simile “like old beggars under sacks” describes how tired and worn these soldiers are. The suffering of the soldiers is continued throughout the poem with “drunk with fatigue” and “all went blind”. These images continually convey the suffering of the soldiers. The alliteration in “watch the while eyes writhing” creates a confronting image in the readers mind. The poet arouses the responder’s sympathy as they witness the grotesque nature of the soldier’s death. This is also similar in the poem “Anthem for Doomed youth” as the title itself reveals the idea of soldiers that died and didn’t receive a proper burial. The opening rhetorical question, “what passing bells for these who dies as cattle” in shocking and forces the audience to see the soldiers deaths linked to the slaughter of cattle. The final line of the poem, “and each slow dusk a drawing of blinds” reveals that although these men didn’t receive a proper burial, they will be remembered by their loved ones who must deal with the pain and grief of their loss.
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