2.4 Essay Task – Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen’s poems, Exposure and Dulce et decorum est are both dark, and full of death and destruction. The graphic realism Wilfred Owen portrays the idea that war is horrific and destructive, not glorious like the media paint it to be.  Exposure is all about how the cold is the deadliest enemy soldiers face.  Dulce et decorum est describes the graphic horror of war, showing to the reader that war isn’t all glory and victory. Wilfred Owens uses multiple different language techniques as ways of portraying his ideas and themes to the reader.

This example of personification “dawn massing in the east her melancholy army” from the poem Anthem for Doomed Youth is used by Wilfred Owen to show that dawn controls the deadly weather that is killing the soldiers.  “her melancholy army” is the storm clouds that are more deadly than the actually enemy the soldiers are facing. “dawn massing” was used by the author to show that the weather is out of human control. The deadliest enemy the soldiers face can’t be controlled or changed by anyone. These men are not being killed gloriously in battle like people believe, they are dying horrific, agonizing deaths in the muddy freezing trenches that they live in. Wilfred Owen wants to paint a dark and horrifying image for the reader to show that war is nothing like the glory filled stories they are told as a child.

The words “desperate glory” paint the picture of how war is glorified to cover up the true brutality of it.  Emotive language was used by Wilfred Owen to show that without glory people have no reason to justify sending soldiers into the horrific conditions that war actually is. If there was no glory then people would be shocked by the true depressing nature that war has.  People use the “glory” of war as a way of convincing innocent men into becoming soldiers and dying for their country.  The line, “The old lie, Dulce et decorum est, Pro patria mori” means it is sweet and fitting to die for ones country. The way Wilfred Owen says “the old lie” shows the reader that Owen doesn’t believe that its sweet and fitting, he believes that people are being lied to and coerced into fighting in the war.  Wilfred Owens use of Latin and emotive language is a way of showing that men are being lied to about war. War isn’t glorious and it isn’t “sweet and fitting to die for ones country” like everyone is being told.  As a child we are told all the glorious stories from our grandfathers fighting in the wars, but Wilfred Owen’s poetry challenges these glorified stories making us question what we are told and imagine the true horrors that our grandfathers faced as they sacrificed their lives for our country.

War isn’t glorious. It is dark, horrifying and brutal. The stories we are lead to believe about glory and victory over the enemy are just ways of justifying war. Wilfred Owen’s poems Exposure and Dulce et Decorum Est through the use of emotive language and personification portray this idea making the reader understand the true nature of war, and see the brutality that soldiers have to endure.

Respond now!