Dulce Et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen

May 27, 2018 General Studies

The Demonisation of war is portrayed via an array of graphic Imagery, changing rhythm and extremely in-depth descriptions. Dulce et Decorum est is a World War One poem about young seduced conscripts fighting in the front line of war and their experience of a noxious attack; these are indispensable humans, merely just numbers being sacrificed one after the other like animals being slaughtered.

The fact that Wilfred Owen was amongst these conscripts ignites the poems authenticity, as the use of first person and violently close encounters is spoken of in stark detail, provoking responders to penetrate deep into and feel the horrors of trench warfare. The poem consists of four stanzas, the first of which deals with the brutality of life in the frontline. Via the graphical accounts and powerful writing devices of alliteration and hyperbolised similes to allow responders a sense of scene and atmosphere of total horror, with the cries of soldiers echoing horrors, but continuing to mock “Bent doubles. The additional alliterative repetition of “Knock kneed” in comparison to “Hags” compares a soldiers coughing to the coughing of a witch. All of this is just compressed in the first two lines taking its effect on the responder. The alliterative description of “Men marched asleep” further emphasises the men’s exhaustion and their need for light of spirit as they were so broken. The pun “blood-shod” along with the images of “lame”, “blind”, “drunk with fatigue” in the next two lines takes the glory of war away. Finally the stanza concludes with the oxymoron sound of “gas-shells dropping softly behind. Owen has depicted the brutality of war along with the dehumanising horrors of war through these powerful writing devices. The second stanza with its faster pace, rhythmic scheme of ABABAB and the panicked alliterative tone of “Gas, gas” is full of action as men search for gas masks. Although this stanza is full of action the main concept Owen is portraying here is the Dishonesty of war which is ‘friendship and loyalty’. The patriotic cliche of ‘solider sticking together in war’ is proven to be a lie with the shock images and the simile of “someone still yelling”, “like a man in fire or lime”, “as under a green sea I saw him drowning”.

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Through this the question of where is the loyalty of soldiers sticking together helping each other out arises, when one is drowning in his own blood while the others look on helpless. Yet again Owen has illustrated the horrors of war, not only do these soldiers suffer from the pain but also the seclusion and isolation that if they fall there’s a chance they might stay there as there is no one brave or loyal enough to risk their own life to try and help them. The third stanza consists of just two lines yet very powerful enough to emphasis the trauma and nightmares of the frontline.

An exemplification is the barbaric and grotesque scene of “he plunges at me guttering… chocking… drowning. ” The Last stanza with its steady rhythmic beat of iambic pentameter deals with yet again another falsehood of war. This stanza correlates with the title Dulce et Decorum est meaning “it is sweet and meet to die for ones country. ” Due to fighting first hand in war Owen believes this is a lie. Young soldiers get brainwashed by society who romanticise and glorify soldiering.

However we “watch the white eyes writhing”, “hear at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the forth corrupted lungs” and feel the “incurable sores on innocent tongues. ” With the coughed up simile via the biblical allusion of “like a devils sick of sin” we ask ourselves in which part of this do we visualise the glory of war? Through this we join Owen into agreeing that the ancient Latin proverb Dulce et Decorum est, pro patria mori is without a doubt an obnoxious lie. Thorough Owen’s remorseful tone, graphical images and extremely detailed escriptions Owen has depicted the deceptions, horrors and destruction of war in his war anthology. This poem portrays the realities of war and by doing so provokes responders to feel mortified and sympathy for these youthful lives wasted in fulfilling the objectives of political regimes. These soldiers have been manipulated, brainwashed and fed lies into thinking that fighting for your country is glorious. The truth of these lies hits the soldiers once they have been thrown into the battlefield; by fighting they realise there not doing anything honourable or glorious but are awaiting to be sacrificed by a gun with their name on it.


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