How Does Wilfred Owen Use Language and Poetic Devices to Create Impact on the Reader?

Topics: Poetry, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, World War I Pages: 2 (816 words) Published: January 29, 2012
How does Wilfred Owen use language and poetic devices to create impact on the reader?

Wilfred Owen was a British poet and soldier during the First World War and was born in 1893. Unfortunately Owen died just before the war ended on the 4th of November 1918 at the young age of 25. He was killed in action at the Battle of the Sambre just one week before the war had ended. A telegram from the War Office announcing his death was delivered to his mother's home as her town's church bells were ringing in celebration of the end of the war. He wrote the poem dulce et decorum est in 1917. This poem has a strict a,b,a,b,c,d,c,d pattern. It has roughly 10 syllables per line in iambic pentameter. It has a very strict rhyming pattern and amount of syllables. The strictness is probably related to the strictness that they have in the army, when marching or likewise. Wilfred Owen uses a varied amount of diction to describe war and its effects on people. In the first stanza he uses a good choice if diction to fully describe the condition of the soldiers, for example ‘bent double’, ‘drunk with fatigue; and ‘coughing like hags’. In the third stanza Owen chooses even stronger, more violent language, to portray the horrors of war. He uses words like ‘smothering dreams’, ‘withering’, ‘gargling’, ‘hanging’ and ‘incurable sores’. Wilfred Owen uses lots of great imagery such as this simile; ‘Obscene as cancer’. Owen is referring the lime gas to cancer. This suggests that because cancer is an incurable illness, in some respects so is the gas, because it won’t go away. It is a very strong word which fits in well with what the gas was like. The word obscene is a very descriptive word and can put an unpleasant picture in the readers head. ‘As under a green sea’ is the metaphor I have chosen to describe. This also refers to the gas attack. In this metaphor the gas attack is referred to as a sea of green. The green colour can also be related to an actual sea but also because the gas was...
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