Essay about Wilfred Owen

Words: 1760
Pages: 8

Owen's war poetry is a passionate expression of outrage at the horrors of war and of pity for the young soldiers sacrificed in it. It is dramatic and memorable, whether describing physical horror, such as in‘ Dulce et Decorum Est’ or the unseen, mental torment such as in‘ Disabled’. His diverse use of instantly understandable imagery and technique is what makes him the most memorable of the war poets. His poetry evokes more from us than simple disgust and sympathy; issues previously unconsidered are brought to our attention. One of Owen’s talents is to convey his complex messages very proficiently. In‘ Dulce et Decorum Est’–‘ If in some smothering dreams you too could pace / Behind the wagon that we flung him in’ the horror of witnessing …show more content…
Owen is more famous for his angry and emotional poems such as Dulce, though his quieter poems can pack just a strong a punch. Futility has a barely controlled emotion to it, we are used to Owen questioning war and people but here he questions life itself. His desperation and hollow lack of hope, so resigned against life, is intensely emotional, beyond anger and beyond help. His use of sounds and assonance give the poem a quiet tone, almost as if the speaker is whispering. There is no appeal to God or to anyone, he includes no physically horrific imagery, but mentally tormenting ideas.

Religion is a recurring theme in Owen’s war poetry. The intensity of war can either bring crisis of faith (Futility) or spiritual revelation -‘ I too saw God through mud‘’ (Apolgia Pro Poemate Meo). But most poems seem to question God–‘ For love of God seems dying’ (Exposure). Then in‘ Futility’ the Christian idea of God is ignored and a more pagan view of nature and life is turned to. Futility ultimately questions life’s motives and offers neither religious comfort nor reasoning for war. In‘ Spring Offensive’ some of the imagery used echos passages of‘ Revelations’ in the bible–‘ And instantly the whole sky burned/ With fury against them; earth set sudden cups / In thousands for their blood’. In this same poem he adopts a sneering tone about belief in God–‘ Some say God caught them even before they fell’. But though the Christian church officials are