‘Owens poems reveal tenderness and compassion towards those whose lives have been destroyed by the war’
Wilfred Owen was the greatest war poet in World War I. His work on the poems were hugely significant because they challenge the notion accepted by society of what it was like for men to go to war. His varying narrative perspective puts him sometimes at the heart of the action and sometimes as a observer, but he never fails to convey the experience of the everyday man, the horrors and realities of war, and the psychological impact on its participates.
Owen attempts to convey to the reader the experiences of the everyday man to demonstrate how unglamorous and futile war in fact was. In Strange Meetings, Owen displays a meeting with an individual who belonged to the opposing side, in which he stated to him ‘I am the enemy you killed my friend’. Although the man belonged to the opposing side, Owen still demonstrates compassion towards him by calling him a ‘friend’, friends who are forced to employ horrific and futile deaths upon one another.
Similarly, in Apologia Owen exemplifies the fact soldiers were forced to ‘not feel sickness or remorse for murder’, which resulted in the exact opposite. Many soldiers, which Owen attempts to portray, showed tenderness and compassion to the opposing soldiers despite the negativity depicted against one another. The reader is forced to elicit negative emotions towards the instigators of war, which forced these men to participate in such events. Not only does Owen portray tenderness and compassion to the soldiers, he attempts to elicit negative emotions from to reader to disregard war.
The horrors and realities of war were fabricated by governments which forced Owen to portray the realities of war and due to this Owen displays a higher tenderness and compassion for the death of soldiers. Many of the soldiers in the war were of a young age and due to this Owen believed it was the wrong doing and God would judge these individuals for the death of the young. In Inspection Owen states ‘young blood’s it great objection’, emphasizing the objection held by nature against the death of these young individuals. Which not only demonstrates Owens compassion to these young soldiers but also elicits sympathy from the reader, forcing them to again disregard war.
In contrast Owen did not only show tenderness and compassion to young soldiers in Spring Offensive, he portrays compassion for the death of comrades. ‘Why speak not they of comrades that went under?’, Owen questions the military rather than the audience as to why honourable men who took charge in protecting their country were not perceived as heroes but were rather silenced. The reader therefore not only feels sympathy for the young soldiers but also for the silenced comrades. Owen exemplifies tenderness and compassion to the young death of soldiers and comrades by emphasizing the objection held by nature against these events.
Furthermore, the psychological impact, which Owen who he himself experienced, allows him to feel an understanding for those who suffered continuously after war. In Disabled Owen displays himself as an observer of a young disabled man, he states ‘he noticed how the women’s eyes passed from him to the strong men that were whole’.
Owen attempts to emphasise the psychological impact forced upon returning soldiers who were not considered heroes if they had not return as whole, but were rather looked down upon for their sacrifices. ‘Now he will never feel again how slim Girls waists are’, a sacrifice of not only his capability but also a sacrifices of female companionship. Similarly to the other poems, Owen attempts to elicit sympathy from the reader by portraying the truth of war. Owen demonstrates compassion and tenderness for not only the death of soldiers but also the returning soldiers who suffered psychological impacts and were physically incapable of everyday movement.
Throughout Owens poems he portrays tenderness and compassion to the death of young soldiers, the death of comrades and those returning soldiers who sacrificed normal physical movement and were psychologically impacted. In order to demonstrate the horrors and realities of war to those individuals who were mislead by fabricated views of war. The readers of Owens poetry are not only are forced to feel sympathetic to the many deaths of the honour men who died for their country but are also forced to disregard war as a whole.