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A Comparison Of Poems By Wifred Owen

Essay, Research Paper A comparison of poems by Wilfred Owen: ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’When I was searching for two poems to compare, I saw these

Essay, Research Paper

A comparison of poems

by Wilfred Owen: ‘Dulce et Decorum

Est’ and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’When I was searching for two poems to compare, I saw these

two poems and wanted to explore them to find out how Wifred Owen uses language

in different ways to warn future generations of the horror of war.? Wilfred Owen fought in the First World War.? He enlisted as most young men were doing, so

that they could protect Britain.?

However, in the trenches he realized how horrific the war was and

started to make notes about the conditions at first.? Then later in a military hospital he edited and collected these

notes into the poetry of Wifred Owen.? ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is Latin for: It is sweet and fitting

(to die for one’s country).? This line

is repeated at the end and by the principles of ‘Chaldeni.’? I know that by repeating a line at the

beginning and the end it is most remembered.?

This line needs to be remembered as the poem is based on the idea of it

as ‘the old lie’ mocking the established belief of nationalism and duty to your

country.? Also, it is mocking the

established authoritative language of Latin that was reserved for the courts

and churches.? The line is sarcastic as

Owen has now himself seen a gas attack and a man drown ‘under a green sea’, and

has found out that dying out there in a far off land was a waste of a life and

is completely pointless. How can it be sweet and fitting to die for your country if

no one knows about your death? Similarly the

line from ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’:??????????? ‘What passing bells for those who

die as cattle?’raises the

same question – Who cares about these men that die deaths like cattle that are

just bred for their slaughter? ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ is a sonnet.? Sonnets traditionally were happy and about

love or an epic tale.? In contrast, Owen

uses the rigid structure of a sonnet (two quatrains and a sextet) to contrast

with the theme of death and loss.? In

the title are the words, ‘Doomed Youth’ which immediately informs the reader

that this sonnet isn’t a fairy tale or a happy tale of love but is a

distressing poem about the boys who went to war ‘doomed’ never to return. There is a strong marching beat to the poem and as it is

entitled ‘anthem’, I believe that Owen wanted this poem to sound like a funeral

march.? And the march is set to a

backdrop of sounds from battle.? These

sounds include: bells, choirs, bugles, ‘wailing shells and angry guns’

(personification – Owen personifies the guns but the soldiers are not even

mentioned.? Owen wants the reader to

feel that the artillery in the poem was not being controlled by the soldiers.) ‘Dulce,’ on the other hand, is written in free verse with an

alternate line rhyming pattern.? It uses

similes such as ‘like old beggars under sacks’ and ‘Bitter as the cud’.? Owen’s choice of language has a supernatural

theme.? He uses words such as ‘hags’,

‘devil’, and ‘writhing face’.? These

words remind me of a bad nightmare, but this must be what Owen wants the reader

to see.? It might sound like a nightmare

but you will be able to wake up from a nightmare whereas he is talking about

life in the trenches and there was no way out for these young men, no way just

to wake up.? In fact, the only way out

for many men was their inevitable death. ‘Anthem’ asks a question at the beginning of each stanza,

which it then answers through the rest of that stanza.? Why Owen does this is to approach a poem

from a different prospective.? By asking

a question, he gets the reader thinking before answering himself.? It causes tension and sadness because the

answer to the questions we probably could answer but do not because it is

upsetting to remember the dead – especially when the question implies why

should it have been them and not you? Whereas ‘Dulce’ has the quality of a speech.? It starts strongly with imagery and

similes.? It is a direct address as it

mentions ‘you’ in it.? Owen uses

repetition of the word ‘gas’ driving home the idea of panic, the ‘fumbling’

before you could be safe.? The power of

threes:"?guttering, choking,

drowning."He uses pauses in several places so that the reader will

stop and his message sinks in then continues.?

He also ends strongly which is very important so the audience has

something to immediately reflect on.?

Why Owen wants this poem to be like a speech is because, having

experienced war, he has a very strong deep down message to tell; the horror of

war is so much worse than people imagine.?

A speech has the power to deliver this message in a way that other

scripts cannot. Both poems make the reader feel helplessness. ?There was no way of helping the gas victim in

‘Dulce’ and the ‘doomed youth’ didn’t know their fate making them helpless

victims and the reader too is a helpless victim of the poem. The last line of ‘Anthem’ – the ‘drawing down of blinds’ -

is the life fading from those who died that day, slowly like the funeral march

but ironic as most of the men who died on the battle fields never had a

funeral.? There is irony in ‘Dulce’ also

- the whole poem is ironic.? Owen is

saying it is not sweet or fitting to die in battle, to be flung in a wagon with

your eyes ‘writhing’ in your face.? Owen uses the idea of irony in war in both of these poems as

he saw misery, destruction, and pain and wanted people to be more aware of the

cruelty of war and hopefully to stop it from happening again.? Both poems have an alternate line rhyming

scheme.? ‘Anthem.’ uses the form of a

sonnet to portray a distressing message that flows slowly as you would imagine

a funeral march.? ‘Dulce.’ also has a

distressing message but is portrayed in contradiction to its title.? The idea of nationalism, and much it’s worth

is explored.?

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