A ‘War Poet’ or A ‘Poet At War’: Wilfred Owen and the Pity of War

George Ewane Ngide

Abstract


This article sets out to examine Wilfred Owen’s war poems which showcase his vigorous philosophy on and against war. We contend that instead of considered only as “a war poet”, Owen was more “a poet at war”, better still, a poet against war. The terms are used in this paper to mean on the one hand that Owen was less a poet who took part in war, and more a poet who wars against war. Put differently, Owen does not just describe what he himself calls “The pity of war” with the gruesome and excruciating experiences of soldiers in combat, but he also uses firsthand experience on the battlefield (having been a soldier himself)  to call for an end to war. In the preface to his poems he writes that “The poetry is in the pity”. His descriptions of war experiences are so profound that they discourage any possibility of  war, thus leaving the human race with one option namely, negotiation and peaceful resolution of conflicts by those he calls “better men” who in the future will profoundly be involved in what he calls “greater wars”.

 


Keywords


Owen, war, pity, conflicts, negotiation, philosophy

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.5n.1p.170

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