The Next War By Wilfred Owen Personification

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The poem ‘The Next War’ composed by Wilfred Owen is a poem that explores the brutality, horrors, and futility of war. Owen interweaves techniques such as personification, sarcasm, irony and cynicism to highlight and compare a soldier’s perception of death to what it is typically perceived as something to fear and be shunned. Throughout the poem, death is personified as a foreboding and violent figure, “he shaved us with his scythe”. In this poem death isn’t described as the traditional grim reaper. Instead, Owen depicts death as a conspicuous and foul breathed disgusting guise that spits bullets and coughs shrapnel. The use of personification effectively emphasizes the horrors of war, which allows the audience to experience its constant presence in the lives of soldiers. In the poem death is portrayed as a living character, as death is ever-present. Owen speaks of how soldiers have developed a…show more content…
They have learned that Death cannot be fought against and so it is futile to ‘kick against his powers’. Owen challenges typical perceptions of death being something to fear and shun. Instead of trepidation there is shared laughter and a lighthearted acceptance of something that has become an “old chum” on the battlefield. Onomatopoeia and alliteration are used to capture the sounds of Death’s weaponry of bullets and artillery, which the soldiers are powerless against. The soldiers are ultimately depicted as mere pawns as their lives are carelessly thrown away. Owen recognizes that it is wrong to die in such violent ways when nothing will resolve or improve as a result. Owen speaks of ‘knowing’ that in the times to come, ‘better men’ in ‘greater wars’ would not senselessly sacrifice men’s lives but would rather fight against Death itself ‘for lives; not men – for

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