In the war poems Mental Cases and Dulce Et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen utilises poetic techniques including aural and visual imagery to convey the notions of the glorified misrepresentation of war, psychological effects and futility of war. Drawing from his personal World War 1 context, Owen further conveys this meaning by challenging responders through the confrontation of the harsh realities of war. Within the poem Mental Cases, Owen shows how the soldiers have been drowned in misery and been brutally affected by war leading to the notion of the glorification and misrepresentation of war in society. He shows the audience the aftermath of war and how it’s not as romanticised as society believes. He emplys the use of imagery in the quote “Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish, Baring teeth that leer like skulls' tongues wicked?” (Lines 3, 4).
‘Mental Cases’ and ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ are two outstanding pieces created by Owen, each using techniques such as hyperboles, personification and imagery that associate the two poems, giving us, the readers, a bigger picture of what is happening in the poets eyes. In the poem Mental Cases Owen expresses his perception that war is taking away a soldiers future, a life full of happiness. It illustrates the bloodshed and suffering of war, using a series of graphical description of young men who are treated for war-related illness’, such as shellshock. It was a heart-wrenching poem for Owen because he himself was a patient of shellshock. The repetition of question marks and dashes illustrate the confusion and frustration witnessing Owens fellow comrades, it is a demanding tone begging for explanation for the entrapment of victims.
Owen used his poems to deliver the truth about war and change the views of society at that time. He used graphic and gruesome imagery about the horrors of war in order to illuminate his feelings. The horrors of war are most vividly and strikingly captured in the poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est.’ Owen attacks the reader with a barrage of detailed, gruesome, descriptions of life at war. He uses this technique of imagery to force the reader to visualize the truth about war. Owen also seeks to expose the betrayal of the authorities throughout poems such as ‘Disabled’ and ‘The parable of the old man and the young.’ He expresses how they acted with a disregard for the lives of their countries young men.
The poet is saying that people should not talk about war as enthusiastically as it gives the impression that war is glorious. Furthermore, he says that the idea that ’it is sweet and right’ to die for your country is entirely untrue. Through this, we are able to form the opinion that war is not okay because it is a serious thing that carries many negative consequences. In Wilfred Owen’s poem Dolce et Decorum est, the use of similes conveys the harsh reality of war on soldiers as it changes them dramatically and kills the majority of them. In the first two lines of the poem, Owen uses the similes “Bent double like old beggars under sacks, knocked kneed, coughing like hags” to paint a grim picture in readers minds of how the soldiers were.
It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.” This quote represents all that Remarque set out to portray with the publication of this novel. He is trying to let the reader feel the betrayal he and his generation felt when they were swept up into a fight which was not there’s. His statement that “death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it…” is a poetic way of expressing the way in which a person when faced with his own demise suddenly understands how real the consequences of deadly combat are. This is a time which brings reevaluation of moral principles as well as harsh reflection upon what life is worth to each and every one of us. The names, dates, and highlights of bureaucratic outcomes as the result of international conflict are what a textbook or traditional history book might provide.
Sassoon’s poetry described the horrors of the war and how disgusting it is. Two poems which show the perspective of war is: Firstly, Counter-Attack, which describes how war is like; and secondly, died of wounds, which show the condition of war. The poems relate to the feeling and emotion war creates. Also it shows how horrible war is. The techniques that Sassoon has used in the poems are: imagery, simile, metaphor and onomatopoeia.
Owen highlights such unjust experiences of the soldiers to augment his argument against the bureaucracy. Parable of the old man and the young is a didactic poem which alludes to a story in Genesis 22:5 and is about Abrams sacrifice to a higher power. In WW1, many soldiers were being sent to fight in an unnecessary war, killing thousands upon thousands of men, for the aid of foreign power. This notion of injustice can be seen in ‘Parable’ where an ‘angel’ tries to ‘offer the Ram of pride instead of him’ to Abram. The biblical allusion of the term ‘angel’ symbolises a moral conscience, in the hope of changing Abrams mind, as well as on a didactic level, symbolising the mothers and loved ones of the soldiers.
Gas! Quick, boys! !” this achieves the sense of haste the writer was trying to achieve by using short sentences and exclamation marks to grab the attention of the reader, also this contrasts with the first verse describing the sense of exhaustion to the one of extreme panic and anger. “Owen’s fear of the ‘haunting flares’ creates the impression that war is a nightmarish and horrific experience. The simile that compares the soldiers with coughing ‘hags’ emphasises this and the corrupt, unhealthy connotations
Owen commented on his poetry that ‘my subject is war, and the pity of it… all a poet can do is warn.’ Owen and Sassoon were both trying to warn young men against war and inform the public on how brutal and disgusting war actually is In both poems, after describing the obscene conditions of war and the impact that these conditions had on the soldiers, the poets dedicated a stanza to condemning the reader on any encouragement they may have had towards young men going to war. They did this through the use of personal pronouns. In ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ Owen condemns the use of the saying “Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori” (It is sweet and fitting to die for your country) by using personal pronouns to involve the reader in the reality of war “If you could hear at every jolt/ the blood come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs… my friend you would not tell with such high zest… the old lie: Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori.” In ‘Suicide in the trenches’ personal pronouns are also used to disapprove of the encouragement of war “You smug faced crowds… who cheer when soldier lads march by/ sneak home and pray you’ll never know/ the hell where youth and laughter go.” Personal pronouns are used in order to involve the
“No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; nor any voice of mourning save the choirs” is a succession of negatives which enhances the gloom stricken tone of the poem and the hopelessness of the soldiers. Owen repeats that there will be no sign of respect or acts of mourning for the dead. There are simply too many for them to be accounted for individuality and for them to all receive the burial they deserve for making the ultimate sacrifice. In war, instead of honouring those who have fallen, more are being killed by the same weapons. This is exposed through “Only the monstrous anger of the guns.