Wilfred Owen, War Poems and Others
How does Wilfred Owen explore the horror of war through the power of poetry?
Throughout the several poems Wilfred Owen wrote throughout his experience during the First World War, he explores many themes in relation to the war and the emotions associated with these. One of the most prevalent ideas Wilfred Owen chooses to emphasise in many of his poems is that of the sense of horror associated with war and all the consequences of it such as those including death, disability, pain and gore and this emphasis can be clearly seen in 2 of Wilfred Owens most famous poems: Dulce Et Decorum Est and Mental Cases.
First and foremost, the technique Wilfred Owen employs in nearly every poem he wrote to help convey the sense of horror is that of imagery which is generally created through the use of vivid descriptions and strong language. This is shown on Lines 3 and 4 in Stanza 1 of Mental Cases; “Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish, Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ tongues wicked”, where Owen uses words commonly associated with evil such as ‘skull’ and ‘wicked’ as well as the use of descriptive language to paint the image of an evil and distorted face. Owen also uses these techniques in Dulce Et decorum Est where he once again uses vivid and descriptive language to describe the face of a soldier who had fallen victim to the toxic chemical agents used by the Germans in the war. The 2 lines which portray this image; “And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;”, like those explained in the poem Mental Cases, also employ a variety of graphic language as well as a reference to death by hanging in the phrase “devil’s sick of sin;” and through these techniques paints a vivid and descriptive picture of the face of a fallen soldier and help to accentuate the sense of horror which has been created by the poem. There is another prime example of this descriptive imagery helping to...
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