‘Spring Offensive’ of Wilfred Owen

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‘Spring Offensive’ of Wilfred Owen: Offensive and Its Outcome

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wilfred Owen Masters the group of war poets who have the first hand experienced of modern war fare. ‘Spring Offensive’ like other poems of Owen, is an eloquent protest against the cruelties and horror of war and it is drawn on Owens own experience of the Anglo French offensive launched in April 1917 to attack the Germans who took shelter behind the river Somme in France.

The very title of the poem embodies a conflict in the poem. The word ‘spring is a season of love and beauty, of birth and regeneration, of gala and union while offensive suggests an attack destruction oozing blood. Thus ‘Spring Offensive’means an unnatural offense of war
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He has become a shadow of his erstwhile glory and beauty. By the cruel hand of time he is now a ‘waste’ ‘maimed’ creature. He is now faded ill-suited to be a lover of Kaleidoscopic Eos.

Now the lover begs, “Let me go, take back thy gift.” The beloved moves into pity and sheds tears. But the gift of immortality once granted by the Gods cannot be reversed. “The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts.” Once earned immortality is now or cruelty to him. At the end of the poem there is an account of the sad separation of the lovers. The desperate lover now adds that happy are those men who have power to die. Thus he pleads that the happy conclusion of his life would be his death. And even then his graveyard will be visited by the Goddess of Dawn every morning. In a moving words he thus requests –

“Thou seest all things; thou will see my grave, Thou will renew thy beauty morn by morn”.

Even though Tithonus was a lining being, an earthy substance, he begged immortality to equal himself with the God. His desire was fulfilled but only to mourn in later years. The boon of immortality has gradually consumed his being totally in the late years. In our life both birth and death are two greatest phenomena. As
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