Wilfred Owen - Pity of War

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War is ‘obscene as cancer.’ Anti-war poet Wilfred Owen fought in World War 1 from which he was affected by shell shock. For the five years this war lasted, 65 million troops saw action. Of these, 8 million died, 21 million were injured and the remainder who returned physically unharmed were just as haunted mentally until their final breath. It was Owen’s time in hospital that he wrote poetry as part of his therapy. Unlike other authors, Owen’s purpose was to reveal the awful truths of war and let us see past what was said to be glorious. His poems ‘Dulce et Decorum est ‘ and ‘Disabled’ tell of his personal experiences of battle and how war continues to inflict pain upon returned soldiers. Similes and metaphors are two language features Owen used that helped me understand the important idea of the true horrors of war, which is worth learning about today. In ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ one language feature used was similes, displaying the awful scene of physically drained men and a gruesome gas attack which depicted the important idea of the true horrors of war. The poem begins with the vivid simile “bent double, like old beggars under sacks”. Owen harshly compares the soldiers to beggars, the lowest of the low, as they’re no longer young and vibrant but old and crippled. In this case they’re not begging for money or food, but their lives. We see how they are stooped over from their time in the trenches and buckling under the weight of their heavy packs. This simile is effective in helping us understand the sheer extremity of the soldiers’ exhaustion. The idea that war prematurely aged these boys is emphasized with a second simile “knock-kneed, coughing like hags”. Again we see these men in a state that they shouldn’t be in as Owen suggests they’re old, sick and on their last dregs of energy. Their limbs as well as their internal organs, unable to cope. Like beggars
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