Anthem of doomed Youth is one of Owen’s most famous poems and one over, which he took great pains. The poem is written in sonnet form. The poem is a long comparison between the elaborate ceremonial of a Victorian-style funeral and the way in which men go to death in the Western Front. The poem was written while Owen was in Craiglockhart war Hospital. He was expressing his views and personal experiences from the front and back home. The poem compares home life to the front line; but it is shown in how the soldiers are treated after they fight and die for their country and that they have no meaning.
Dulce Et Decorum Est’ is poem that describes four corresponding sections. The first deals with the extreme condition of the exhausted soldiers. The second stanza deals with a gas attack and the cruel death of a soldier. This also happens in ‘Exposure’ where the soldiers are attacked by shells and are confused to whether they are dead or alive.
The third stanza is the poet’s reaction, and nightmare. The fourth stanza addresses the poetess. He expresses his views to the other poets who lie about the greatness of fighting.
So we can see, already only in my introduction, that the poems are in different context and at different scenes and have a different way of showing the same message which is said in both poems. The message is hidden in all of Owen’s poems. He is an Anti- war poet and tries to express his feelings of wear from personal experiences through his poems.
The poems have hidden messages inside them, and show Owens true meaning to war and the soldiers. Both poems are from real-life experiences; Owen has seen the war at the Western Front for himself and has been through the same experiences as the other millions of men.
Owen has just put into his words the views of millions of other young soldiers. It is full of imagery and all use of the senses, this is just like his other poem ‘Exposure’, where the poem is full of visual sensory. Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born on March 18th 1893. He was on the Continent teaching until he visited a hospital for the wounded and then declared, in September 1915, to return to England and enlist. He was seduced by the propaganda used to persuade boys to join the army.
On 4th June 1916, after nine months of training, Owen became a second lieutenant. Though he had outwardly become an officer, determined that “if I get to be solider, I must be a good one, anything else is unthinkable. ” He was now an inwardly poet. But on May 1st, Owen commanding officer noticed that he was shaking and confused in speech – he was suffering from ‘Neurasthermia’ or shell shock. He was sent to Craiglockhart war Hospital. His time there was from June until October 1917 was to be of great importance to his development as a poet.
Before World War One Owen was a young boy wanting to help his country, just like millions of others, after the trauma at the western front he realised that the boys enlisting were going to the “Hell of Earth. ” Owen wrote, “All a poet can do is warn. That is why true poets must be truthful” “Watch in those dreams still”. In those dreams the horror is re-born, the reality of battle re-shaped to the dimensions of poems; poems which we, his readers, our vision of reality of the Western Front “Hell of Earth. ” Owens attitude in both poems are anti-war.
In poem one, ‘Anthem of Doomed Youth,’ we can tell by the title that the poem is anti-war. ‘Anthem’ heralds the poems solemnity, Anthem is a song of praise; this is emphasis of the sadness and remorseful for the ‘Doomed Youth. ‘ The ‘Doomed Youth’ address the millions of dead and yet to die soldiers. This title yokes together contradictory terms; your youth is the time of hope, promise and years ahead and a time of looking towards the future. If the youth is ‘Doomed’, there can be no hope or future, just death. The youth will have no hope or future this means only death will come to the youth.
In poem two, ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ which means ‘It is sweet and meet’, it is the opposite devise he has used to poem one. Here he has used a slight twist; by reading the title Owen has made us readers to believe his poem is pro-war, and his says all the great things about dieing for ones country. We think Owen is will be praising the soldiers and describe them and strong and brave on the front line. Both poems have the same attitudes towards war, one of them the lack of respect to the soldiers and their death. In poem one Owen shows his attitude clearly and straight away just on the first line.
What passing bells for those who die as cattle? ‘ Owen here has used a rhetorical question to make the readers think and wonder. He has answered the question on the next line. The readers know straight away what the answer will be but Owen uses his poetic devises to answer this question in seven lines. He asks the audience what respect and funeral will be given to the soldiers who died a painful death? ‘Die as cattle’ Owen uses animal references to the soldiers. Owen compares the soldier’s treatment with the treatment cattle receive when slaughtered. This simile has many implications.
Cattle are slaughtered in large numbers as food for human consumption, and no one expresses any grief at their death. The soldiers are given no individual identity; they die brutally and with no ceremony to honour or recognize their humanity. Animals are below humans and are treated in a process of living for one purpose: to die for human survival. This is like the soldiers to live for one purpose: die to save humans and their country. ‘Die’ and ‘cattle’ are both stressed words, which Owen stresses and makes the reader, catch these two important words.
They emphasise the meaning that the cattle are slaughtered just like the soldiers are, with no respect or dignity. In poem two Owen shows a lack of respect to the soldiers. The poem is in four stanzas; the first deals with the extreme condition of the exhausted soldiers and is couched in somewhat hyperbolic terms – ‘all went lame; all blind’ – indicating the fervour of Owen’s feelings rather than the misery of the men. The first line in ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ also shows the lack of respect to soldiers, just like in ‘Anthem of Doomed Youth. “Like old beggars under sacks,” this is a misplaced image and emphasize about the soldiers image on the front.
Old beggars are not noticed or given respect to by other people. They are coming towards the end of their life without achieve anything, just taking others money because they cannot be bothered to find a job. People judge the old beggars by their appearance. Some soldiers sign up for attention and it looks glamorous, they end up dieing without knowing why. Owen has used the letter ‘b’ as alliteration, so he has used this technique to make the ‘b’ a strong word so you pronounce and understand his meaning. Old’ is giving the readers the impression that the soldiers are aging before their time. They are growing old without knowing and suffering the old age symptoms.
These soldiers sighed up young and are fighting like ‘old beggars. ‘ ‘Coughing like hags,’ hags are known as old tarts with cigarette in their mouth and coughing. Mainly mainly upper class women do not respect tarts. Jessie Pope was a middle age upper class woman who urged young boys to sign up for the war. This is metaphor to express that the soldiers have been cheated and lied to, Jessie Pope does not like the soldiers just wanting them to sign up and be brave.
Hags are not respect by the public and are not attractive people; this also applies to the ‘old beggars. ‘ When we say ‘hag’ it gives the impression of an old man; sick and dirty. Owen in just the first two lines shows the image of unglamorous and pathetic image of the soldiers at war. The images conjured up in this stanza create a devastating contrast with the classically rooted idea of the glory of dying for ones country. In poem one the soldiers are given no individual identity, they die brutally and with no ceremony to honour their or recognize their humanity.
No prayers, nor bells’ this also shows a lack of respect to the soldiers. The soldiers who died fighting for their country do not unity with God when they have given their lives for other people. All the soldiers do is fight and die; in a circular process like the ‘cattle’ when being turned into meat. Owen shows a religious side, that the soldiers are unable to be forgiven from their sins or given a prayer when dead. This is disrespectful to the soldiers. Owen states that they will not receive ‘mockeries’ or false expressions.
This shows all his anger to the disrespect to the brave, foolish soldiers who died for nothing. The boys will die a silent death with no tears for them, no false feelings or no prayers. The express this in poetic terms he uses negative words like ‘no’ and ‘nor’. His feelings here are expressed in many ways; using various forms of devises like, metaphors, parables euphuism etc. In poem two it describes how they ‘flung’ a soldier in a wagon. ‘Flung’ is a word, which shows no emotion or feeling to a precious body; it gives no dignity to the soldiers who died for ones country.
We feel as if the body is being handled without any care and treated like nothing. They body is being treated like nothing, not even an animal, animals have little respect, these bodies are not respected. “Blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as cud of vile,” this phrase is an unpleasant and vile description of a dead soldier after being gassed. ‘Cancer’ has no cure, and you only have a small chance of living, finding out that you have cancer is terrible and people response to it is sad and shocked.
They feel sorry for you and want to help you, cancer is also a disgusting sinful thing which is pure bad no goodness. Is cud a suitable image of bitterness? Cud is not bitter, but even when Owen misuses words, he does it with an intensity that is arresting his misjudgements and balanced by fervour. “Blood” and “cud” rhyme words, they both are powerful words which emphasize their meaning. The description is overall drastic, horrific and disrespectful to the soldiers. So we can see that both poems are showing lack of respect to the soldiers and they both do this in describing their meaning in different ways.
Poem one shows it through a funeral and the ways the bodies are treated, while poem two describes the appearance of the soldiers and also just like poem one adds explanation of what happens to the body afterward and their vile appearance gives us his attitude. Owens attitude towards war is shown in both poems; no reason to death in war, their sacrifice for nothing in return. The soldiers give their lives and they have noting in return, no memories, noting. In poem one the first octet is a dark picture and has no reference to the safe light; it is full of sadness and cruelty. This is a contrast with the light on the sestet.
In the sestet Owen uses light as ‘candles’, and ‘holy glimmer,’ this is all interpreted in a religious form, to the church. The darkness is reference to Earth on the battlefields where war is taking place. The guns are ‘monstrous’ which shows Owen’s anger to war and weapons. ‘Monstrous’ make the guns sound human-like which is personification, Owens has used this to give the effect that the weapons are just like humans; bad, evil and ruthless, they don’t know when to stop and only cause bad things. In poem one Owen uses a lot noise sounds, onomatopoeias, and make them cacophony.
The noise in this poem represents hellish sounds and war like, but the light represents the peace and harmony of war, ‘candles’, which also is known as heaven. Owen’s impatience with formal religion, which is certainly one of its themes, but the whole poem also stands as a lament for the soldiers lonely deaths, and for the fact that they are denied proper burial. We can see a process which the soldiers go through, from earth on the battlefields in war, they fight and some last only minutes other hours, then in the sestet we see light and ‘candles’ which represent heaven and safety; no more war.
The ‘Doomed Youth’ have no life, just fight and die. They have no remembrance or goodbyes or prayers. Their life is shown as a waste. Owen hasn’t put any reason why the soldiers are dying or why they aren’t given any dignity. So in poem one Owen shows that the soldiers are dieing for nothing by the way he explains that they have no remembrance for them and they are not missed by anybody.
In poem two Owen has two main messages. The first is the suffering of the men at the front line; the second is to the other poets who lie about being great. In stanza two Owen translates his personal experience of a gas attack into seven lines. An ecstasy of fumbling,’ is a phrase, which evokes both the sharpness of fear and the clumsiness of exhaustion. This phrase is an oxymoronic; it is a figure of speech, which brings together two contradictory terms. The boys are fighting for their life or death. If they are not quick enough, its death. “gas! GAS! ” this I feel is a cacophony on the front line in war. To all the soldiers this is the sound of their life running before their eyes if they have no gas helmet. “Clumsy, Shaken” the boys are petrified and scared, they have no time to think.
It emphasizes the fact that the soldiers are ill equipped, this is also shown in stanza one, ‘many had lost their boots. ‘ Owen then goes on to describe how one soldier hadn’t found his helmet on time; ‘someone was still yelling. ‘ Owen does not give the soldier any identity, they are just boys that nobody knows and will never be remembered. He uses an image of drowning through the pane of sea green glass in his mask. This description is from Owen’s view of his mask. He then describes the death of a soldier in a gas attack. “I saw him drowning. ” His use of ‘I’ makes us engulfed it feels personal and realistic.
His use of the metaphoric language, ‘drowning’ is effective. He is literally drowning as his lungs fill up with poisonous gas, and Owen sees him drowning like under the sea. This use of metaphoric language is used in most of Owen’s poems, to expresses his feelings and his sights at the front line. “In all my dreams” Owen has used this delirious effect of dreaming in ‘Exposure’ when they are confused to whether they are dying or sleeping. “So we drowse” the soldiers here are sleepy due to the cold weather. The weather in ‘Exposure’ is used a metaphor and is described as a person. Before my helpless slight,” Owen here describes his experience with death in war. ‘Helpless’ is a metaphor, which has two meanings. Owen is literally helpless to help the soldier and rescue him; he is also helpless to see the soldier die in front of him. “Guttering, chocking, drowning,” guttering conveys sounds of the fast flickers of life in the moments before a painful death. These are the stages of dying. Owen feels useless and guilty of murder like the other million of men who are dying for a reason they barely know about. The soldiers believe that they are brave.
This is shown in stanza four when Owen describes the ‘innocent tongues,’ so these boys don’t know the truth are given the ‘old lie’, which persuades them to sign up. He makes the word ‘innocent’ strong because it is linked with the ‘in’ sound in ‘incurable’ so they are both words, which you emphasize without knowing. So in poem one Owen expresses his views of sacrifice for nothing by showing that the soldier has no dignity in dying because they aren’t given a proper funeral. He uses a lot of alliteration and onomatopoeia to describe the gunfire. They all end in rhyming couplets.
In poem two Owen express his view of sacrifice for nothing by explaining the soldiers are ‘innocent’ and that they are clueless to what they are doing, this is shown by the gas attack. He uses metaphoric language and uses one word to describe a paragraph of meaning to those words. He also does this in ‘Exposure’ when writing ‘snow-dozed’ in poem two he writes ‘blood-shod’. These are the same poetic devises Owen has used, in ‘Exposure he has written about how the weather affects the soldier to fight, they are freezing and some dying in the snow; they sadly don’t know if they are alive or dead.
In poem two Owen uses ‘blood-shod’ to express the amount of blood lost and losing. They are both metaphors. Owen also uses puns in poem two more often than in poem one. In the first stanza he uses half rhyme, like in ‘Exposure’ half rhyme is used throughout the poem. ‘Sludge’ is one a new line by itself and ‘trudge’ is at the end of the fifth sentence. Owen also shows a great deal of anger in both poems. In ‘Anthem of Doomed Youth’ he shows this in the title. “Doomed” has no future or hope in it, is it a strong and powerful word that Owen has used in his title.
He shows is anger that the youth, which he was, have no future. Owen was a teacher working abroad and successful, he then joined the army like the millions of others and realised that he was one of the “Doomed Youth” so he is trying to save them from signing and entering hell. The onomatopoeic “stuttering”, together with the alliterative “rifles” rapid rattle picks up the “anger” of the guns and their noise in turn is taken up by meaningless repetition, or “patter” which are all the prayers, which are offered for the dead soldiers.
The “monstrous anger” he has used harsh words to describe the sound in the battlefields, he has made the sound as well as busy but angry and continuous throughout the poem. The guns are angry because of the killing they are doing and the people using the guns are clueless. “Sad shires” is a personification used to show the sadness the towns where the soldiers come from. The shires represent the traditions of home, however, are left saddened by the soldier’s death and this offers a note of hope.
He has used alliteration to capture the sorrow of this poem. At the end of this poem you are lest with a slight faith of hope that the soldiers have people who shed tears. Owen then shows the sadness in the sestet; it begins with a question, which dismisses the candles, which are burnt by Christians traditionally to ensure that the soul had a safe journey to eternal life. It is not the candles, an irrelevant symbol, which the choirboys hold, which will be of any significant, but the tears in their eyes, which express real feelings.
Similarly, it is the paleness of the girl’s faces, which express their real emotions, which will form their pall or cover for the coffin. This stanza shows real emotions and tears, which fall for the loved solders, in stanza one we hear no emotions and feeling, not even a tear to the eye. We feel hope for the lost soldiers and that the mourning of the girls suggests that not all soldiers die as ‘cattle’. This start is also in the first octet; the use of a rhetorical question. In poem two there is no hope in a stanza, it is just full of horrific images of the front line. Dusk” is when day is coming to an end, and light is fading; this is a metaphor for the lives of soldiers. This is also shown in “Exposure,” dawn is when light shines over all the dead bodies, light shows the death and has a dark side to it. Because the losses the days the go slowly, “slow duck” perhaps while they wait for news, but finally life is ended with the “drawing-down of blinds, ” this shows the end of life and the curtain shall never be raised again. In the octet the last line ended in hope, this sestet has ended in sadness.
In poem two Owen’s attitude towards war is that the poor soldiers were “innocent” and so they didn’t know why they were fighting or dying. “All lame, all blind” Owen uses ‘all’ to sound personal and meaningful. ‘All’ is all the soldiers were affected not just some. “Blind” is a metaphor; they are all blind to see what has happened to them and why they are fighting, they are oblivious to these reasons. They are also literally blind to see the fighting and some soldiers were blinded. Owen creates innocence for the soldiers; readers become sorry and feel guilt and horror. Blind; is also in with a rhyming scheme with ‘behind. ‘ “Someone still was yelling out and stumbling” this somebody is identified and is known as nobody. He is portrayed as young and full of innocence, the poor soldier is yelling and panicking for his life, he probably didn’t know he was going to die like this. He was sure he was going to die brave and fighting the enemy hand to hand, not in a small gas attack. Owens message is clear; young ones are vulnerable and easily die in war, they are clumsy and their tiredness catches up with them. They are not alert and therefore pay the price of death.
There are harsh and dreamlike/nightmarish passages in this poem. The innocence lies in what he did to deserve this punishment: nothing. “Helpless sight” this means to be useless and unable to help what you see and what you cant do. This causes guilt to Owen that he is part of his death; the audiences feel innocence that Owen had to watch this horrific death. In stanza four of poem two Owen concludes in his poem “you too,” ‘you’ is engaging the readers as the other poets who lied to these innocent soldiers persuading them to sign up to fight in the war.
This is also reminding the readers of the common phrase used in wartime: “Your country needs YOU” I feel as if this small word ‘you’ makes a whole difference to the poem. He is criticises the poets who lied and said war was a great thing, but they never fought to see what was war really like. He also pronounces the ‘ou’ sound he does this in the same line to make the words sound important. “My friend” is a sarcastic word addressing Jessie Pope, a famous poetess who persuaded boys to sign up; Owen was one of the boys who signed up.
These poets had no experience of life on the front line so this is partly why Owen is full of anger towards these lying poets. “Such high zest” neatly sums up the tone of Jessie Pope’s exhortative verses. “Children” this emphasises the point the people signing up lied about their ages and pretend to be old enough to sign up but were really only ‘children. ‘ She sent children to their grave. These ‘children were ‘desperate ‘ for a taste of ‘glory,’ they thought they were going to come back alive and their parents would be proud, instead they died in horrific deaths and sad endings.
This stanza is her to consider the scene and then ‘The Old Lie: Dulce et decorum est/Pro patria mori. ‘ Owen is enlightening through contrast. ‘A devil’s sick of sin’- why would a devil vomit, that is, reject what he stands for and this really a telling image of the dying man’s face? This line really emphasizes the fact that the dead face was a not forgetting sight. That even the devil, possessed by evil and sin, rejects this innocent young man. Owen is at a poem dedicated by truth and not by beauty and one that is part of his movements away from vagueness to greater realism.
Its tone, however, is not of compassion but indignation and bitterness which is at its best both lofty and cutting. In Anthem of Doomed Youth this works through a series of contrasts, and here the contrasts are framed as questions followed by answers. What burial ceremonies are appropriate for those who die in the war? The answer is in the octet is that the sounds of battle are the appropriate forms of mourning; they function as a wordless lament. Its strength lies in those images which aptly and justly chosen to suggest the horror of war, the inadequacy of religion and the validity of love and grief.
It has a greater compassion and respect for human relationships than Owen’s more acrid poem ‘Greater love’ and marks his rapid growth as a poet in the second of 1917, inspired by his war experiences. The poem is full of sensory images, half rhymes, rhyming couplets, onomatopoeic phrases and metaphoric language. In poem two it is full of meaning and bitter and sarcastic tone. Owen was greatly concerned about the patriotism of people who knew nothing of the horrors of fighting and ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ is an attempt to outface authors with such views.
Here we have a ‘maturer’ Owen, as it is a poem dictated by the truth not by beauty and one that is part of his movement away from vagueness to greater realism. In poem two Owen chooses words that deepen the poems meaning and make it more vivid: “haunting flares” – which transforms the whole setting of the poem into a nightmare, “outstripped Five-Nines” literally the bombs are tired, but it is the fatigue of the men that makes them so seen so. The main attitudes in the poems are the same, they both are anti-war and don’t like innocent men dying for no reasons and poets lying to these ‘children’.
They both belie that the soldiers are not treated right and have no dignity. They are strong in their attitudes and the men having no future and both mention death and that is what is most likely going to happen to you. The poetic techniques used are different in the two poems. In poem one ‘alliteration, rhyming couplets, onomatopoeia, sensory images and some personification are the main poetic uses used in this poem. In poem two it is quite different. The main techniques used are half rhymes, oxymoron’s, metaphoric language, puns and ironic language are the main uses.
In poem one we see this poem is more formal and mature style. But the effect is hard to see, in poem two the effect of the images is powerful because it is written there are the description is more horrific, but in poem one we read less about the description, just more about the dignity and no respect. Owen writes that the soldiers are not worthy of a funeral. But in poem two we read the death of a solider and we feel sick and sad of this. His intended reaction for poem one was to show the people who aren’t fighting in war or who are thinking to, is that not everybody gets noticed and they are not treated with respect.
He wanted to save the young people and warn people and try to influence them not to go to war unless you are trained. In poem two his audience is mainly the other poets and warns them not to lie because of the tragedies happening on the front. He uses more descriptive language so Jessie Pope can understand more clearly what life is like. Both poems have impact, but in different ways, they both are the same, but give their message in a different way. War today is very different. We are today experiencing war, but it is nothing like war back in 1917. The war in Iraq is not about land.
The soldiers are not dying in masses, and never coming back. Only a small amount of soldiers have died. I have not had personal experience of war. I have seen small effects like the ‘Twin Towers’ on September 11th. But Owen experienced something that millions of others did, and in poems he describes a lifetime in a short poem. He has written famous poems, which cannot be beaten by or compared their power because Owen was one of the few who expressed his views without care of what might happen. That is why he is admired and one of the many soldiers who are not forgotten. But he is remembered for his poems not his help in the war.