Wilfred Owen

Owen’s poems present the reader with a powerful exploration of the impact of human cruelty on individuals. How does Owen achieve this in his poetry? In your response, make detailed reference to TWO of the following poems: ‘Futility’, ‘Parable of the Old Man and the Young’, ‘Anthem for doomed Youth.

When an individual wants to achieve goals, the individual often doesn’t consider the consequences which may follow it particularly the impact of human cruelty. In Wilfred Owen’s poetry, the composer has portrayed his view that War makes people cruel to each other and it transforms them into killing machines that do not stop functioning until they are killed themselves. In ‘Futility’ Owen holds hope for a glimpse of revival of a sleeping comrade only to grasp to the realisation that he is dead whereas in ‘Parable of the Old Man and the Young’ the poet has portrayed the young boy as being a victim of human cruelty.
To achieve objectives in war, people push hard with every method possible and always ignore their conscience and ethics. In his poetry, Owen displays his view that war is pointless, it has no meaning and most importantly, there are no successes associated with war instead it causes mass destruction. In ‘Futility’ Owen has used Biblical Allusion in ‘clays’ which refers to God’s creation of mankind being formed out of clay. He has also used other various words such as ‘sun’ and ‘cold star’ which is a connotation of giving life and warmth but they contrast each other in changes of attitudes. Owen’s tone is described as having hope at the start of his poem for signs of life only to have it distinguished in the second stanza. In Stanza 1 he uses agricultural connotations in ‘Seeds Unsown’ to show that nothing is planted and won’t rise like the fate of the soldiers which is contrasted by’ wake the seeds’ where it contrasts the condition of the soldier’s lives and the ability of the sun to heal and bring life. The nature of war itself proves that life is useless...