THEMESThe horror of war and the terrible conditions facing soldiers, even after they have died.The futility, meaninglessness and inadequacy of religion in response to such horror as seen during war.Senseless devastation of war
TONEThe poem begins in a mood of bitterness and irony, but as the focus shifts from the battlefield to the home front, from the immediate setting of mechanized warfare to the distant calm of civilian life, the mood shifts toward sadness and regret.(Anthem usually positive tone)
STRUCTUREItalian sonnet (14 lines)Octave: brutality of warDominated by the sound of battleSestet:requiem for the deadCharacterised by muted griefIn order to expose the horror and tragedy of death on the battlefield, the poet has created a parodyof a civilian battlefield.The sustained metaphoremphasises the difference between death in peacetime and death on the battlefield.
TITLE - Anthem for doomed youthAnthem:hymn of praise which usually commemorated or praises a person or groupSong of praise for young men (doomed youth) who give their lives in battle for their country/cause.Doomed:implies that they have been condemned to die and have very little chance of survival (WW1)Youth:not usually associated with death. Ironic.The anthem does not materialise as we are led by the poet into battlefield to hear the sounds of war, rather than the music of a memorial service.
Simile1. What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?(Rhetorical question) What sign / signal will be sounded to mark the death of the soldiers? Simile: Manner in which soldiers die is compared to the mass slaughter of animalsNameless and faceless they die brutally in the chaos of war“passing bells” - Slow, solemn tolling of bellsIronically contrasted with unfeeling slaughter of cattleA custom in England dating back many centuries was to ringa bell when a person was dying. Those who heard it were to pray that the person's soul would pass on to the light of heaven when he or she died—hence, the term passing bell.