Dulce Et Decorum Est

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‘Dulce et Decorum est’ by Wifred Owen Katriona Downie Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” is a magnificent, and horrific, description of a gas attack suffered by a group of soldiers in France in World War 1. One of his friends in his group is unable to get his helmet on in time and suffers horribly that Owen had to witness. This was an image he found extremely difficult to get out his head and kept coming back to him in his reoccurring nightmares. He writes this poem from the trenches while serving in war. Through his rhythms, dramatic description, and raw images, Owen seeks to convince that the horror of war far outweighs the patriotic clichés of those who glamorize war and increases my understanding of war and the horrors that come with it. A technique used to enhance the horrors of war is imagery. Such as, describing the soldiers as “bent double, like old beggars under sacks”. By using this simile, it provides the reader with an unexpected view and appearance of the soldiers, as you normally have an image of a soldier to be strong healthy looking men. The poet quickly erases this false image of a soldier replacing it with a description of a ‘beggar’. The second verse greatly enhances my understanding of war by using conflict, danger and death. The poet achieves this by creating a sense of urgency. The first words of the second verse are “GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!!” this achieves the sense of haste the writer was trying to achieve by using short sentences and exclamation marks to grab the attention of the reader, also this contrasts with the first verse describing the sense of exhaustion to the one of extreme panic and anger. “Owen’s fear of the ‘haunting flares’ creates the impression that war is a nightmarish and horrific experience. The simile that compares the soldiers with coughing ‘hags’ emphasises this and the corrupt, unhealthy connotations
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