Owen conveys his views on organized religion through his poetry. The altruistic values usually associated with religion are tarnished so that the latter can be a means of propaganda to promote patriotism and war. This inappropriate converging of state and church affairs leads to Owen’s disillusionment. The futility of the organized church is emphasised since it provides no consolation for those on the battlefield. The genuine values of religion can only be portrayed by the soldiers themselves, in their sacrifice; not to their state but to their fellow soldiers. Owen explores these ideas in various works, namely At a Calvary near the Ancre, Le Christianisme, Anthem for Doomed Youth, and The Parable of the Old Man and the Young.
The major and general issue with Owen’s disillusionment is the incompatibility of war and Christianity, or rather patriotism and religion respectively. There is no religious comfort on the battlefield. The authorities promoting the church only act as figureheads who provide no consolation to the soldiers. The ‘packed-up saints lie serried’ in Le Christianisme and disregard the rubble above them as the authorities remain indifferent to the suffering of the soldiers. The former are distant from the...
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Wilfred Owen was born in 1893 and lived to die at the age of twenty-one. He was a great poet but he had a big problem with mankind. Most of the poems he wrote included the terrible incidents of the war. Wilfred Owen fought in the war for four years. During those horrible years, he wrote a considerable amount of poems about the war. Many of them being religious based like the Parable of the old man and the young. This poem was originally a religious parable about how Abraham was told by God to kill his son. Abraham was about to kill his son when an angel appeared and offered a ram instead of his son.
Abraham obliged and killed the ram instead. In Wilfred Owens version, Abraham declined the offer of the ram and killed his son. “But the old man would not so, but slew his son, and half the seed of Europe, one by one. ” This line explains how Wilfred Owen depicts war. He uses this phrase as he thought war was started by man and all the older men were killing the opponents ‘young,’ “… and half the seed of Europe, one by one. ” It also explains how lots of young people were sent to fight in the war. Usually aged at about eighteen and upwards.
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The ‘seed,’ as Wilfred wrote, meant the young people of the world, as a seed is usually the starting point of any organism. Most of Wilfred’s poems about the war are referred to hell, darkness, anger, pain and suffering. He explains how nature is evil and are the slaves of the devil himself, doing his dirty work. “… even the brambles would not yield… ” This quote is from ‘Spring Offence,’ it explains how even the brambles tried to stop the British soldiers. “By his dead smile, I knew we stood in hell. ” This quote explains that all wars, even small, are horrific.
Wilfred Owen is stood over a man, nearly dead, and is watching his smile. He then realised that his smile meant they were all standing in hell. Hell is thought to be the home of the Devil, the dark, dank, rotting underworld of all life. I think this is precisely why Wilfred Owen depicted the First World War as being Hell. “Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were. ” This quote, from ‘Strange Meeting’ explains how the minds of British, and probably German soldiers to, were broken or destroyed by the war. Shell shock is one of these that most soldiers got. It was caused by the bombs falling all the time.
These people with shell shock would have it for life. It caused the brain to think there were always bombs dropping around them. Wilfred Owen believed strongly that humanity was at fault with the war. Even though in his poems, he explains how God could be letting this happen and how he could sit down and watch this triadic moment in history happen. I think Wilfred Owen didn’t believe in, ‘Nature taking its course. ‘ I think he believed that it was mainly humanities fault for starting the war but it was God’s decision to actually carry out the deed of letting humanity start a world war.
I also think that Wilfred Owen believed in the devil more than God. This is because, in most of Wilfred’s war poems he writes about the war as being hell, a dark underworld. There are lots of different similarities between Wilfred’s war poems and Dante’s Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is about a man, called Dante, who travelled all the way through hell. “… made myself ready to sustain war… ” Canto 1. “And tighten them for battle. ” Spring Offence. These two quotes are both very similar. The first quote comes form Dante’s Inferno, the second comes from Spring Offence. They both explain how they are getting ready for war.
As Dante’s Inferno is based in hell, it shows that war is mostly founded by hell itself. “The old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patri mori. ” This quote is from ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est. ‘ It means, ‘It is good and fitting to die for your country. ‘ Wilfred Owen depicted this as a lie because he thought is was not good and fitting to die for your country in such a horrible way through the war. I conclude that Wilfred Owens views on religion were quite high as he based most of his war poems on hell. Also, I think his views on religion were quite high as he wondered why God would let the war commence through humanities mistakes with the world.