Dulce Et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth Argumentative
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In the two poems, Dulce et Decorum est., and Anthem for Doomed Youth, both written by Wilfred Owen, the author’s main purpose was to expose the true horrors of World War II and to challenge the romanticized view of war that poets such as Rupert Brooke held. To achieve this, Owen used familiar imagery techniques of similes and personification, and sound devices such as onomatopoeia and alliteration.
In Dulce et Decorum est., Owen used the techniques of similes, ”Bent double like baggers under sacks,” he wrote, likening young, normally healthy men to old beggars tying to keep warm under sacks. This comparison of these young men, usually so full of life to tired old beggars is, in addition to letting the readers visualize this by familiar imagery, very degrading to the soldiers. It is causing people to stop looking at them as heroic warriors that people used to think they were. Owen writes, “knock-kneed and coughing like hags,” once again degrading the soldiers. Through these similes, Owen is achieving his purpose o showing the audience back home who believed in the propaganda, what horrors and suffering bright young soldiers underwent, thus what war was really like.
In Anthem for Doomed Youth he writes, “those who die as cattle.” In this poem, Owen is trying to express grief about the lonely deaths of soldiers, and protest at the senseless and cruel killing that went on at war. By using familiar imagery, he is comparing soldiers to cattle, who die in large numbers everyday, and no one even stops to think about it, as so many are killed. Through this dehumanizing simile, he is once again degrading the soldiers, showing what war can do to young, innocent men.
Owen uses personification in “Dulce et Decorum est.” to get across the true horrors of war. “Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,” he writes. He is showing how tired and fatigued the soldiers were from fighting, that they could hardly even put on their own helmets- by giving life to the helmets, he is getting across that the soldiers were so tired they could only fumble at the ‘clumsy’ helmets, that wouldn’t go on, and proves how degraded they became by the war. A simple task was hardly manageable, due to the horrific nature of war.
In, Anthem for Doomed Youth Owen also uses personification to give life to the weapons used in fighting. He describes the “Monstrous anger of the guns,” and “the shrill demented choirs of wailing shells.” We are able to visualize the emphasized awfulness of fighting at war, which in turn achieves the purpose of the author, which s to show us how lonely and sad the soldier’s deaths were. This links in with the major purpose of proving that war wasn’t a heroic act, rather a sad, cruel and senseless occurrence that ruined the lives of many.
Owen, in addition to using familiar imagery, also uses sound devices to achieve his purpose of challenge propagandists, and revealing the truth about what war really was like. He uses alliteration in his poem Dulce et Decorum est.: “And watch the white eyes writhing in his face.” This creates rhythm in the poem, and we as readers can visualize this scene because of the emotive language also included in the sentence, and indeed poem. This allows Owen to continue to achieve his main purpose of showing what war does to young men by degrading them, as this scene depicts the true nature of death. We see a picture of two helpless men, one dying, and the other (his friend) watching on, unable to do anything to help him. The one watching is becoming degraded through his inability to help, while the one dying is dying in a very belittling way –powerless on a battlefield. This links in to support the overall purpose f showing readers the true horror of war, and challenging the views of people who believed that the war was a great and exciting thing.
In Anthem for Doomed Youth, Owen uses onomatopoeia to show the scary reality of weapons used on the battlefield. “The stuttering rifle’s rapid rattle,” “the shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells.” These words allow us to visualize what was going on at war, not only the images but also the sounds. They are scary to visualize when we remember what the soldiers went through at war, fear gripping them every hour of the day. Owen achieves his purpose of showing readers at home how lonely and sad their deaths were, expressing grief for young men. This also links in to show and challenge the propagandists the true reality of war.
In the two poems, Dulce et Decorum est. and Anthem for Doomed Youth, the poet Wilfred Owen’s main purpose was to expose the truth about war, and to challenge the views of propagandist at home who believed war was a good thing. In order to do this, he used familiar imagery- similes, personification and sound devices- onomatopoeia, alliteration, to show how degraded soldiers became on the battlefield, and to express grief at how lonely their senseless deaths were. These two purposes of the two poems respectively, linked into his main purpose of showing us that war was not a good, heroic thing, rather something that was the cause of ruin for many innocent lives.