Dulce Et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth

Topics: World War II, Dulce et Decorum Est, Poetry Pages: 3 (915 words) Published: March 31, 2010
Identify what you think the author’s purpose is, and what techniques were used to achieve this.

In the two poems, Dulce et Decorum est., and Anthem for Doomed Youth, both written by Wilfred Owen, the author’s main purpose was to expose the true horrors of World War II and to challenge the romanticized view of war that poets such as Rupert Brooke held. To achieve this, Owen used familiar imagery techniques of similes and personification, and sound devices such as onomatopoeia and alliteration.

In Dulce et Decorum est., Owen used the techniques of similes, ”Bent double like baggers under sacks,” he wrote, likening young, normally healthy men to old beggars tying to keep warm under sacks. This comparison of these young men, usually so full of life to tired old beggars is, in addition to letting the readers visualize this by familiar imagery, very degrading to the soldiers. It is causing people to stop looking at them as heroic warriors that people used to think they were. Owen writes, “knock-kneed and coughing like hags,” once again degrading the soldiers. Through these similes, Owen is achieving his purpose o showing the audience back home who believed in the propaganda, what horrors and suffering bright young soldiers underwent, thus what war was really like.

In Anthem for Doomed Youth he writes, “those who die as cattle.” In this poem, Owen is trying to express grief about the lonely deaths of soldiers, and protest at the senseless and cruel killing that went on at war. By using familiar imagery, he is comparing soldiers to cattle, who die in large numbers everyday, and no one even stops to think about it, as so many are killed. Through this dehumanizing simile, he is once again degrading the soldiers, showing what war can do to young, innocent men.

Owen uses personification in “Dulce et Decorum est.” to get across the true horrors of war. “Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,” he writes. He is showing how tired and fatigued the soldiers were from...
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