Wilfred Owen

Essay by natho167High School, 12th gradeA, July 2006

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It could be said that all of war poet Wilfred Owen 's work has a discernible purpose; this being the destructive capacity of war, and its ultimate futility. What remained constant throughout Owen 's career as a war poet was his ability to communicate his purpose successfully to the reader, through his style and technique. Some of his poems like Dulce et decorum est demonstrate Owen 's initial purpose in protesting against the war by means of definitive style and technique. In poems like Futility and Spring Offensive Owen 's purpose is centred around conveying to the reader the abnormality of war, his style and technique consolidating this purpose.

Within Owen 's early poetry his purpose can be found easily, as much of the intended meaning lies on a surface level. Anger and disgust were the fundamental sentiments that permeated these poems, his intent; to reprimand those at home who ignorantly urged the doomed soldiers on to war.

A poem whose style and technique largely illuminate this purpose are Dulce et decorum est. The title is ironic, a Latin mantra used during the war to tempt soldiers into battle, roughly translated into 'It is noble to die for one's country.' Owen mocks this concept during the poem, ultimately rendering the notion of patriotism injurious and detrimental to man. This was intended to shock civilians at home, who were convicted that war was in fact noble and glorious. Continuing, Owen seems to look back on the event as it were a recurring nightmare, the ' haunting flares ' of the Five-nines foreshadowed by the haunting image of his dying friend. The mood of Dulce et decorum est is angry and condemning. Owen 's purpose is clearly conveyed through this accusation, in that he felt war was not glorious and the...