Wilfred Owen Essay, Research Paper
“Owen uses Poetry as a powerful Weapon”
Owen uses his poetry as a very powerful weapon. He does this by using clever and well-constructed poetical devices and techniques. Two of his poems which convey his powerful poetry are “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Strange Meeting”. In “Dulce et Decorum Est”, Wilfred Owen attacks the old lie and the perceptions of war at home, and shows the indignity and horror of the war. He does this by strongly persuading the reader that war is not romantically heroic, but pointless, using his powerful techniques. In “Strange Meeting”, Owen of war, and society’s collapse without convincing poets. Owen ultimate love of persuasive poetry is revealed stongly in “Strange meeting”. He shows war on a first-hand basis, and recounts it in his experience into his poetry. This is what makes Wilfred Owen’s poetry so powerful.
In “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, Wilfred Owen attacks the Old Lie: “Dulce Et Decorum Est, pro Patria Mori, as well as perceptions of war being romantically heroic, in his time. He attacks this line by using irony in his poetry. The title “Fulce Et Decorum Est” translates into : It is sweet anf honourable, but on the first line of the poem shows the exact opposite of what is expected. “Bent Double like old Beggars under sacks” doesnt show any glory in war. This is a simile. Owne uses a whole string of similes in his poetry to convey hois ideas. He also uses compelling metaphors, vivid imagery and graphic details of the indignity of war.
Wilfred Owne also shows the terrible indignity of war in, after a terrible mustard gas attack, in the start of the second stanza. The dead soldier is “flung” into the wagon. This shows the indingnity and lack of respect on the battlefields. Owen appeals to young men of his time that war is not a glorified battle. He uses irony to break down the old Lie, the words of a Roman poet who lived int he 1st century AD.
Owen uses onomatopoeia to show the absolute horror of the mustard gas attack. “Guttering, choking, drowning”. These words show the ongoing nature of pain being endured by a man dying of a mustard gas attack. Owens vivid imagery persuades the reader against war being a glorified battle. “Come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs”. This is an extremely powerful imagery, as it paints a mental picture in the readers mind. It is comparing the state of the lungs to the corrupted devil. The poetic technique that Owen uses in “Dulce Et Decorm Est” is unsure. It is a mixture of purposely disrupted rythyms to show the disruption of war. Owen didn’t want to use a traditional method, as it would sound like a song. Owne is trying to make the reader attempt to see the horror of war- as well as hear the bombs, gunfire and yelling. If the poem had a proper rhythym it would be like a dirge for the dying, instead of a traditional rhythym.
Owen breaks these traditional heroic style- using broken Iambic Pentameter ( 10 syllaboles per line with 5 stresses- the stress sounding on the second sylabol of each foot). Here, he shows the real horror of war by breaking the tradition that war is a romantic glorified battle.
Owen uses the same technique in another of his poems- “Strange Meeting”. he breaks the rhythm to show the horror of war int his poem, too. “Strange Meeting” shows the absolute pointlessness and futility of war. He does this by writing about a vision of dying and being in hell with an enemy. The poem goes on to show what a waste of life the war is, when they find out that they are both poets. The persona in this poem appears to be Owen: “Strange Friend, I said” This is an oxymoron because the two words contradict each other. He is strange because they have so much in common. They have the same aims- to attack perceptions of glory back home, as they are both poets. they are mourning over the fact that they have lost time to write poetry, to inspire people against war. Owen uses many lines which simply show the uselessness and pointlessness of war. ” Into vain citadels is a military stronghold- and it is not walled”- there is no point. This echoes the whole point of the futility of war.
Both poets are unhappy that they have lost the time to persuade and inspire people in poetry, but also because they have lost their time to find pure poetical beauty “Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair.” Owen points out that the beauty in his poetry is not pyscial – it is in his desire to express poetry.
Owen true love of poetry, and the truth involved in it is what makes Owen’s poetry so powerful. It is written truthfully and from the heart using compelling metaphors and similes as well as other poetical devices and techniques. He shows the indignity, futility and the utter pity and shame of the idea of the war. He attacks wrong perceptions and the old lie. Owen’s poetry is so powerful because it is written with excellent techniques, as well as the truth and first-hand experience.