Making sense of the senseless


Owen was a conscientious officer to his men. He did his duty in the face of his religious and humanitarian principles. The physical and psychological sufferings Owen saw and personally experienced on the Western front were significant for a thoughtful and sensitive young man:

  • 1914 shows Owen’s initial views on the war
  • Strange Meeting explores the philosophy of loving your enemy
  • In S.I.W. the section headed The Poem expresses Owen’s views of those who self-harm
  • Dulce et Decorum Est expresses his hatred for the ‘old Lie’ that it is ‘sweet and honourable to die for one’s country’.


Owen was haunted by the things he had seen and experienced on the Western Front. Indeed, sometimes the idiom of dream was perhaps the only way to process the atrocities he witnessed. The motif of dreams and dreaming can be found in the following poems:

  • Strange Meeting
  • Dulce et Decorum Est
  • Hospital Barge
  • Miners
  • Exposure
  • The Sentry.
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