Wilfred Owen, one of the leading poets of the First World War, was a young, English soldier, who battled for his country. The poems, Anthem for Doomed Youth and Dulce Et Decorum Est were written while Owen was sitting as an injured soldier in the hospital. The main theme of Dulce Et Decorum Est is the reality of war and the central theme of Anthem for Doomed Youth is the premature deaths of young soldiers. World War 1 was a very emotional and horrific experience for the soldiers because it was a matter of life or death. Wilfred Owen describes and visualises the harsh realities of war and human suffering during World War 1, using the poetic techniques of simile, onomatopoeia, imagery and symbolism.
Wilfred Owen addresses the harsh realities of war and human suffering through the use of similes in the poems Dulce Et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth. For example, in Dulce Et Decorum Est, Owen describes the soldiers to be affected by mustard gas as ‘White eyes writhing in his face, like a devils sick of sin’. The whiteness in the soldiers eyes reflect the pain being experienced and ‘devils sick of sin’ demonstrates how a demon might realize his errors and wish to escape hell just as the soldier, who has sinned, wished to escape the battlefield. This also affects the audience, creating an emotional reaction towards realising how traumatising it would be to physically see the expressions of soldiers, yet alone as they approach death. In contrast, an example of a simile in Anthem For Doomed Youth includes, ‘Choirs of wailing shells’, which indicates that no mourning was occurring on the battlefield except for the only choir they had. The only choir was the sound the shells made as they moved through the air as opposed to at a funeral where they have singers. Owen compares to the sound of choirs to the horrific reality of war. The examples of similes used in these poems by Wilfred Owen were aimed to express the horrific emotions experienced by the soldiers on the battlefield and to demonstrate the reality of war.
Owen used the poetic technique of onomatopoeia in both poems in order for the audience to ‘hear’ the sounds of the soldiers suffering in the reality of War. Owen describes the suffering of a soldier in Dulce Et Decorum Est as ‘Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs’, which was caused by the gas. The horrendous noises from the dying soldiers at battle caused an extreme damage such as the corruption to the lungs and throat. This creates an effect on the audience to feel emotional and experience the feeling of pity for those in war. An example of onomatopoeia in the poem Anthem For Doomed Youth includes ‘Stuttering rifles rapid rattle’, which demonstrates the sounds of the weapons used during War. The deaths of the soldiers were quick, loud and messy caused by a weapon known to be a rifle. The outcome of the war referred soldiers to animals due how they were treated and killed like worthless meat by the rifles. The rifles were referred as the enemies, killing the people with no emotion whatsoever. The poetry technique of onomatopoeia which Owen Wilfred included in both his poems, create an emotional effect on the audience to realise the suffering of soldiers from the dreadful noises and the reality of war where not every soldier survives.
The poetic techniques, Imagery, in Dulce Et Decorum Est and…