we Theme Of Hopelessness In Futility By Wilfred Owen ~ Naija Poets

Though the poem is about a soldier's untimely death in war, the poem uses this forum to make a general observation about the hopeless situation of human existence. The poet is in a serious and sombre mood. The tone is that of regret. A highly philosophical poem in the sense that it attempts to portray the futility and meaninglessness of human mortality. The sun is generally seen as a life-sustaining agent but the poet wonders why the sun toils ceaselessly to sustain this meaningless life.

In the poets view, life is futile. There is no worthwhile hope in the life of men. When the poem speaker finally realizes that the soldier is dead, he resorts to rhetorical questions as a means to emphasize the futility of human life and to express his anxieties and distress about the dying soldier.

Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved-still warm-too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?

In the above lines, there is a focus on the helpless soldier who lies motionless. A man who used to be very active and energetic in the past is now beyond redemption. In such situation the poem speaker thinks about the futile existence and purpose and meaning of life. It then leads the tone of the poem towards pessimism with the use of rhetorical questions.

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