His purpose—to protest against the mentality that perpetuates war—is unmistakable, but what sets the work apart from much other antiwar literature is the effectiveness of his tightly controlled depiction of war. The last twelve address the reader directly, explaining the significance or moral of the incident. The speaker is among a company of exhausted men who after a stint at the front are marching unsteadily toward the rear when they are suddenly overtaken by poison gas.
The facts of his life and the circumstances of his death explain what inspired or inhibited his work, but they can neither enhance nor diminish it. But Wilfred Owen has achieved a status in the public mind which makes the poetry almost incidental to the story of the handsome young officer who fought his way back to health and the front line in the psychiatric hospital at Craiglockhart.
His biography has all the ingredients of romantic fiction. The malevolent suspicion that 'neurasthenia' was a symptom of cowardice was triumphantly overcome when, in the words of C Day Lewis, he returned to active service because 'he felt that there he would be in a better position to voice his protests against the war and speak for his comrades'.
And the drama ends with the death of the year-old hero, killed - one week after winning the Military Cross and five days before the end of the war - while leading his men in a gallant, but unsuccessful, attempt to cross the Oise-Sambre Canal.
The tragedy is made more poignant by the desperation - misguided but understandable in the circumstances of the time - with which Owen's family attempted to hide his homosexuality and therefore deny his true character.
The meeting at Craiglockhart with Siegfried Sassoon, also, in Sassoon's own phrase, a 'Uranian', was, in its way, a turning point in Owen's poetic life. Frank criticism combined with encouragement in long discussions on the purpose of poetry. Through Sassoon, Owen met Robert Graves and Osbert Sitwell, poets of very different styles who were united by their detestation of a system which allowed, indeed encouraged, the slaughter in France and Flanders.
Throughout his life, poetry was everything and everywhere. The strength of Dominic Hibberd's biography is the way in which the narrative encompasses the details of Owen's strange life without letting the reader forget that it is the development of a poet which is the most important part of the plot.
A few weeks before his death, Owen showed Sitwell verse he had written in the autumn of The willingness to expose his juvenilia to critical view was an indication of his growing confidence.
Hibberd does not let it pass as a brief indication of character development. The poem is, he points out, 'Wilfred's first exercise in the Decadent manner', possibly showing the influence of Wilde and Swinburne. Hibberd's biography misses neither the human interest nor the personal drama.
But the poetry always shines through.
The poetry of the First World War sometimes seems to have been the preoccupation of officers and gentlemen with only Isaac Rosenberg representing the other ranks. The most famous portrait of Owen - trim military moustache, hair parted exactly in the middle and collar pinned neatly beneath his tie knot - adds to that impression.
But Owen's origins, although hardly humble, were very different from Sitwell's and Sassoon's. He was a child of that most artistically unfashionable social group, the lower middle classes.
Tom Owen, after service with the Indian railways, returned to England to work, initially, in gentlemen's outfitting. Wilfred was born while his father was in trade at Oswestry but, by the time the boy was ready for school, Tom had returned to the world of steam and coal and become stationmaster at Birkenhead.
His son was educated at the Birkenhead Institute where he qualified for a place at London University. His family could not afford the tuition fees. So he started work, first as 'lay assistant' to an Anglican vicar and then as an English tutor in France. His insecurity began to show.
In Bordeaux, he pretended to be the son of a baronet, waiting to go up to Oxford, an episode in his life which requires readers to remember that it is the quality of his poetry, not his character, which is important.
Hibberd never lets us forget it. Poetry encouraged him to go to war. In France, he became attracted by the work of Laurent Tailhade, a pacifist who became the impressionable young man's literary mentor. In NovemberOwen wrote home to say: Now I may be led into enlisting when I get home.
His first war poems reflected the admiration of sacrifice which was so popular before the slaughter on the Somme. He never quite descended to the morbid sentimentality of Brooke's 'dying has made us rarer gifts than gold' or Asquith's 'gone to join the men of Agincourt'.In ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’. the title and final line allude to a patriotic poem by Ancient Roman crato ‘Horace’.
“Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mari” is translated as “It is sweet and honourable to die for ones country”, demonstrating Owen’s distrust of the propaganda. Wilfred Owen: The Truth Untold by Dominic Hibberd Weidenfeld & Nicholson £25, pp A poet must be judged by his poetry.
The facts of his life and the circumstances of his death explain what inspired or inhibited his work, but . Dulce et Decorum est. I have chosen to review the poem "Dulce et Decorum est" by Wilfred Owen. The poem is about the horrors of World War One that the soldiers would have to live though during the war.
"Dulce et Decorum est" follows the group of soldiers that the narrator fought and lived with during the war.4/5(4). Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen, - Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Dulce et Decorum Est and Other Poems: Includes MLA Style Citations for Scholarly Secondary Sources, Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles and Critical Essays (Squid Ink Classics) Aug 12, by Wilfred Owens and Siegfried Sassoon.
Also appearing on the Hope Chest album was the song "The Latin One", a reference to the title of Owen's poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" on which the song is based. Additionally in , singer Virginia Astley set the poem " Futility " to music she had composed.