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critical analysis wilfred owen

Uploaded by lmaginn on Nov 02, 2005

Futility by Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen is arguably one of the most famous poets of World War One. In his well known sonnet ‘futility’ he uses powerful techniques such as personification, metaphors and par-rhyme reinforced with powerful imagery to demonstrate the harshness of war. This can also be seen through the tone which changes from hope in the first verse to a profound despair in the second verse. This then causes Owen to question the pointlessness of war. In contrast to his other poems which convey images of horror and violence, in futility he focuses more on the theme of grief.

The title of the poem acquires layers of meaning as the poem develops. At first, it is the obvious futility of the personas faith that his friend can be revived

“if anything might rouse him now

The kind old sun will know”

The personification of the sun is later picked up when futility refers to the creation of man.

“”O what made fatuous sunbeams toil”

This is later explored in the second stanza – “”was it for this the clay grew tall?”

The form of the poem is very significant; The rhythm in the first verse is irregular. This is greatly achieved by the use of para-rhyme. “Snow/now/know” This effectively describes his uncertainty of the life of the comrade and the suns power. As the poem progresses and conclusions are being reached the rhythm becomes more controlled. In the last two lines where bitterness overcomes grief, he uses para – rhyme again to evoke the pointlessness of war. “tall” “all”.

In the first verse, Owen creates a very hopeful but gentle sorrowful tone. This is effectively achieved by his use of diction by using words such as “gently” and “whispering”. The opening line of the poem also contributes to the soft tone “move him into the sun” Although this is a command, it is followed by the word “gently” which gives the reader the impression that there is a sense of sorrow involved in this soldiers death. In contrast to this, the second verse moves on to a more bitter and futile tone . Again this can be seen through the persona of the sun “fatuous sunbeams” The diction also changes in verse two. The repetition of hard consonants “Woke” “wakes” also adds emphasis...

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Uploaded by:   lmaginn

Date:   11/02/2005

Category:   Poems

Length:   3 pages (707 words)

Views:   7038

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