"Anthem for Doomed Youth" Wilfred Owen

Essay by ash huckerHigh School, 12th grade June 2004

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"Anthem for Doomed Youth"


The violent ugly circumstances of the battlefield provided the funeral and graveyard for the young war dead. The madness of this ("shrill demented choirs") and its gross evil ("the monstrous anger of the guns") are depicted. The contrasting sestet (last 6 lines) of the sonnet describes the sorrowing young ones' communities and friends. The poem contrasts the way human lives should be valued and commemorated with how war causes them to be treated. This poem is criticising the low level of sensitivity to the death of these young, brave soldiers.

The poem is structured as an Octet followed by a Sestet. The brevity of the poem suggests that there is little to be said about doomed youth as there is little done in commemoration of them.

Anthem for doomed youth The title is deeply meaningful and depicts a gloomy, negative outlook on the war.

The poem uses a lyrical format and combined with plenty of onomatopoeia there is a musical tone to the poem. This is why he has called it an anthem. The musical quality of an anthem is replaced by the harsh sounds of war. Owen depicts the tragedy of the excessive loss of lives he has witnessed during the war and how they are not fairly farewelled with a formal funeral. He describes the soldiers as "Doomed Youth" as they have no choice but to go to war and have no choice therefore but to die for their country. This is almost guaranteed due to the use of the frontal assault where the soldiers run across No Man's Land and are met with a flood of bullets from the opposition.

The young soldier who died on the battlefields are not given an official, respectful burial. This is bitterly criticised...