Wilfred Owen and Classical Allusion: The Wrestlers
Classical literature was more than the source of the occasional line for Owen. This is Owen's poem 'The Wrestlers' which looks at the battle between Hercules and Antaeus. He started this poem under the advice of his doctor whilst he was a patient in Craiglockhart Hospital, Edinburgh, in 1917, suffering from shell shock, an illness caused by the stress of War whose symptoms included fatigue, shaking, confusion, anxiety, depression and disconnection from one's surroundings.
Note that Owen used the Greek, not Latin, names of his characters. It is likely that Owen used prose translations of Homer, the tragedians, Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus as his sources for the poem.
Wilfred Owen and Classical Allusion
This display of manuscripts looks at the classical tradition as an important source of imagery and content for some of Wilfred Owen's poems. Developed for A'level (16-18 years) literature and classical studies.
Created by First World War Poetry Digital Archive.