Analysis of Anthem for Doomed Youth

Topics: Poetry, Sonnet, Rhyme scheme Pages: 4 (1373 words) Published: January 11, 2014
Analysis of “Anthem for Doomed Youth”

Originally published in 1920, shortly after World War I, “Anthem for Doomed Youth” demonstrates

the horror of the unjust deaths of young soldiers. “Anthem for Doomed Youth” is a poem about Owen’s distain towards the honourless way in which young soldiers pass on, and the impact their deaths have on the loved ones they leave behind. The following essay will show that in the anti-war poem, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, Owen uses sensational description to evoke the anger that he feels within his readers.

“Anthem for Doomed Youth” is a Petrarchan sonnet, with an octave and a sestet written mostly in

Iambic Pentameter. Owen does include variations in this form, such as line 1 which has eleven syllables and line 3 which contains Trochee and is not pure Iamb. These variations in the form work to keep the reader actively focused on the lines, and not just falling into an unthinking, rhythmical patten of reading. The poem itself is about the authors distain for the inactive, passive response to the slaughter of young soldiers, and the variations within the lines ensure the reader is not inactive and passive as well.

While the form of this poem is Petrarchan, it follows a more Shakespearean rhyme scheme of ABAB

CDCD EFFE GG. Though there is a slight variation in the third rhyme section (EFFE instead of the classic EFEF), the presence of the Shakespearean rhyme can be specifically seen in the rhyming couplet at the end of the poem. It is likely that the disconnect between the Petrarchan form and Shakespearean rhyme scheme is due to the unusual subject of the sonnet. Typically, sonnets are used to express love for a person or a thing; However, in “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, the primary subjects of the sonnet are death and anger, which

directly oppose the classic theme of love. The improper form and rhyme combination represent the improper subject of the sonnet.

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