Strange Meeting

by Wilfred Owen

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What strong opinion does Wilfred Owen express in "Strange Meeting"?

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Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then, as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands, as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall,—
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.

The strong option I think you are referring to in Wilfred Owen's First World War poem "Strange Meeting" is the option of dying in battle and entering Hell. To Owen, Hell would not only be the natural conclusion to his life as a soldier, but would be in many ways preferable to the battlefield. Hell, as he states, may have "a thousand fears that vision's face was grained," but here

no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
As the soldier states, in Hell they have nothing to mourn but hopelessness. To him, their deaths are meaningless. Men will either go
content with what we spoiled.
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
He continues to say that he and the poem's speaker are one and the same. They both had hope for their futures, and they both wildly pursued beauty. It was the war that made them enemies.
The man finishes his speech by telling the speaker that he is the man whom the poet killed the previous day.
“I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now. . . .”
Though Hell is a horrible place, the dead still have the option of rest.

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