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wilfred owen

Page history last edited by ali erdönmez 15 years, 1 month ago

    Introduction to  Wilfred Owen,his life,and his view about ‘dulce et corum est ‘

Wilfred Owen is the greatest writer of war poetry in the English language. He wrote out of his intense personal experience as a soldier and wrote with unrivalled power of the physical, moral and psychological trauma of the First World War. All of his great war poems on which his reputation rests were written in a mere fifteen months.

.SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF WILFRED OWEN

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, 1893 - 1918

Born Oswestry, Shropshire. Educated at Birkenhead Institute and Shrewsbury Technical College. 

He felt pressured by the propaganda to become a soldier and volunteered on 21st October 1915..On 4th November he was shot and killed near the village of Ors. The news of his death reached his parents home as the Armistice bells were ringing on 11 November.

WILFRED OWEN, THE SHOCK OF WAR

Wilfred Owen's First Encounter with the Reality of War

On 30th of December 1916 Wilfred Owen, having completed his military training,  sailed for France.

WILFRED OWEN'S PSYCHOLOGICAL JOURNEY

This short account may give some insight into the development of Owen’s ideas and feelings and into the psychological change that probably takes place in most soldiers. To fight in a war and kill fellow human beings it is necessary to abandon the basic morality of civilised life and this requires painful mental adjustments. Wilfred owen's psychological journey

For most of the time he was in the army Wilfred Owen lived and fought as an outsider. By his upbringing, character, religion and philosophy he was totally unsuited to the role of a soldier. He was shy, unoffensive, bookish, introverted, unworldly, sensitive, caring and deeply Christian.

The psychological change in Owen's personality was now definitely confirmed in action. Before this time we do not know what attempts, if any, he made to kill the enemy. His identification with soldiers and the soldiers' role, and his abandonment of his Christian principles, was now complete.

Life in the Trenches

Life in the trenches during the First World War took many forms, and varied widely from sector to sector and from front to front.

Undoubtedly, it was entirely unexpected for those eager thousands who signed up for war in August 1914.

A War of Movement?

Indeed, the Great War - a phrase coined even before it had begun - was expected to be a relatively short affair and, as with most wars, one of great movement.  The First World War was typified however by its lack of movement, the years of stalemate exemplified on the Western Front from autumn 1914 until spring 1918.

Not that there wasn't movement at all on the Western Front during 1914-18; the war began dramatically with sweeping advances by the Germans through Belgium and France en route for Paris.  However stalemate - and trench warfare soon set in - and the expected war of movement wasn't restored until towards the close of the war, although the line rippled as successes were achieved at a local level.  So what was life actually like for the men serving tours of duty in the line, be they front line, support or reserve trenches?

Daily Death in the Trenches

Death was a constant companion to those serving in the line, even when no raid or attack was launched or defended against.  In busy sectors the constant shellfire directed by the enemy brought random death, whether their victims were lounging in a trench or lying in a dugout (many men were buried as a consequence of such large shell-bursts).

Many men died on their first day in the trenches as a consequence of a precisely aimed sniper's bullet.

It has been estimated that up to one third of Allied casualties on the Western Front were actually sustained in the trenches.  Aside from enemy injuries, disease wrought a heavy toll.

Rat Infestation

Rats in their millions infested trenches.  There were two main types, the brown and the black rat.  Both were despised but the brown rat was especially feared.  Gorging themselves on human remains (grotesquely disfiguring them by eating their eyes and liver) they could grow to the size of a cat.

Rats were by no means the only source of infection and nuisance.  Lice were a never-ending problem, breeding in the seams of filthy clothing and causing men to itch unceasingly.

Lice caused Trench Fever, a particularly painful disease that began suddenly with severe pain followed by high fever.  Recovery - away from the trenches - took up to twelve weeks.  Lice were not actually identified as the culprit of Trench Fever until 1918.

Frogs by the score were found in shell holes covered in water; they were also found in the base of trenches.  Slugs and horned beetles crowded the sides of the trench.

Trench Foot was another medical condition peculiar to trench life.  It was a fungal infection of the feet caused by cold, wet and unsanitary trench conditions.  It could turn gangrenous and result in amputation.  Trench Foot was more of a problem at the start of trench warfare; as conditions improved in 1915 it rapidly faded, although a trickle of cases continued throughout the war.

          The view of Wilfred Owen in dulce et corum est

. In ‘dulce et corum est ‘ Owen's struggling with a difficult issue: he's trying to get a country to pay attention to the fact that people are dying. Whether or not you support of a particular war (or even war in general), it might be a good idea to listen to what he has to say.

 

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