The Last Laugh By Wilfred Owen Essay

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Between the years of 1914 to 1918, approaching 1 million British soldiers gave up their lives fighting for King and country ( Wilfred Owens, one of the greater known first world war poets, was one of these. He died at the age of twenty-five, only a week away from armistice, leaving behind approaching 100 poems. Despite his early death, Owen’s poetry has immortalized him, passing to future generations both his experience and sentiments regarding the first world war. Like many at his time, as the war developed, Owen found himself disillusioned with the war effort. His disenchanted sentiment is greatly expressed in his cynical poem, ‘The Last Laugh’ wherein Owen illustrates the truly inglorious nature of war.

Wilfred Owens utilizes
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The poem is entitled ‘The Last Laugh’, an allusion to the common British idiom ‘to have the last laugh’. The signification of this phrase is to ‘finally get an advantage from an argument or disagreement, when it seemed that you would not’ ( Upon reading the title, the reader is led to assume the poem will tell a tale of unexpected victory and heroism, succeeding against the odds. However, this in conjunction with the imagery that follows directly contrasts this preconceived notion, as well as acting to highlight the fact that there are no victors in war. The concept of the last laugh is compounded by the laughing aural imagery lexically clustered through the poem. The guns are anthropomorphically personified throughout the poem, as they are described as laughing.. It is recurrent throughout the duration of the poem, as the soldiers die, ‘Machine-guns chuckle..’, (4)and ‘splinters… tittered’ (10) The unusual personification of the guns, and the fact they guns are laughing works in concurrence with the allusion in the title implies that the guns have the last laugh in war, and not the humans. This is an untraditional way of viewing the winners of the war. Despite the allies winning it is implicit that in this poem that in a war situation, there is no true victor. The soldiers described in the poem aren’t referenced to as being of either side of the combat, however, it is the guns laughing at the soldiers. Likewise, the personification and personality that is given to the guns is restricted solely to firearms. Three different human characters are mentioned, referenced to only fleetingly as ‘he’ (1), ‘another’(5) and ‘one’(9). On the other hand, the names of the different weapons are capitalized as if to imply that they have names, some even given descriptions to imply personality, such as the ‘lofty Shrapnel-cloud’ (7), or the ‘Big-Gun’. The

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