The poet Wilfred Owen uses alliteration of “rifles rapid rattle” to create a rhythm and flow to the poem, it emphasizes the sound of a rapidly fired gun. The alliteration is highlighted by the use of an onomatopoeia; ‘rattle’. This flow and rhythm helps create a sad and angry mood for the reader, it expands upon the reader’s feelings of sorrow. The poet has also used alliteration in the last line “And each slow dusk the drawing down of blinds”. This is a reference to the soldiers that survived and the family left behind; those people who knew what happened and those who experienced it should not forget but move on from these deaths.
Owen uses personification in the poem “only the monstrous anger of the guns” with the intention of giving the guns human characteristics, the guns have no feelings and are the causes of all the death and the horrors that are involved with war. The poet uses this to represent the guns as the people who caused the war and the major officers that make the decisions of war, like sending hundreds soldiers to die “who die as cattle”. The poet also means that the “officers” where firing the weapons to achieve their orders at the risk of hundreds and thousands of young soldiers.
Simile and rhetorical question
The poet Wilfred Owen uses a simile “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle” as a rhetorical question intended to create a image in the readers mind. This technique makes an image of soldiers running out of the trenches and being slaughtered by the enemy guns in the muddy battlefields of war just like when cattle go to the abattoir to be slaughtered for food. Including it as a rhetorical question makes the readers think about whether or not the soldiers got a funeral and what happened to them when they died. This is used to out line the point that the solders that had died did not get a funeral but instead laid there not at peace but with other soldier dyeing around them, guns firing over them and war and destruction continuing. These techniques are used to emphasis that war was just like a huge funeral where thousands of people died unrested on the battlefield. The poet tries to make the point that there was so much death that it over rides the point of the courageous and heroic acts that where committed during the war times.