Dulce ET Decorum EST “Dulce et Decorum Est” is a powerful poem by Wilfred Owen which depicts the horrific conditions endured by young soldiers during World War One. The poem is divided into four sections: a description of the numbed, shell shocked conditions as they struggle to return from the frontline, an account of a gas attack, its haunting effects on Owen and a plea not to glorify war. Owens’s use of vivid imagery is particularly interesting in Verse one. For example the soldiers are described as “knocked kneed coughing like hags”. This is good word choice because it shows us how the men are suffering and that they are tired.
There were also a lot of gas attacks. Owen really tries to get the reader to understand how bad it was by using horrid imaginary by telling us how tired the soldiers were by writing ‘Men march asleep’ and ‘Drunk with fatigue’ and of his description of watching a soldier dying because he couldn’t get his gas mask on in time of a gas attack. Owen poem is so descriptive that when reading it, you can imagine it in your mind playing like a film whilst reading it. The poem begins with the simile ‘Bent double like old sacks, knock-kneed coughing like hags’ we imagine the soldiers walking slowly like the elderly due to tiredness, and bent double due to all the equipment that they carried at the time with the sounds of five-nines exploding around them. ‘Coughing like hags’ the conditions was not great in the trenches in World War 1, it was full of diseases and the weather conditions would make fighting a great deal harder.
Owen then goes on to describe how the mental trauma becomes worse. “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.” This tells us the soldiers mind is haunted by the sight of his fellow soldier dying from the horrible gas. He is dramatizing this scene some time after it occurred, and his dreams are still filled with this unforgettable sight, which becomes a regular nightmare for the soldier. Wilfred Owen wrote this to shock the reader, and to make the reader think about what
In the first line he starts off by using a hyperbole to show how badly the soldiers were affected: like old beggars under sacks, this shows that even though these men were supposed to be the ‘cream of the crop’ so to speak, they were being compared to beggars under sacks. Owen continues with this idea: Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, the alliterative Knock-kneed, slows down the tempo of the poem greatly, there is also a simile used here which compares them to witches. This creates an image of old women trudging through the thick mud – it also connects with what shape the soldiers health was in, for example coughing like hags refers to how critically ill they were as well. He goes on to say: till on haunting flares we turned our backs, in this line Owen uses both personification and a sense of hopelessness to show their misery, firstly he personifies the flares making the statement more effective. Secondly, by saying we turned our backs, it shows that these soldiers – who at the start of the war would have been full of enthusiasm and spunk, had it all drained from them by the war.
The first stanza reflects the severe condition of the worn out soldiers which is implied by hyperbole, such as “All went lame; all blind”(line 6), expressing the vehemence of the poets feelings more than the tragedy of the soldiers. The auditory and visual images Owen conjures in this stanza, however, create a shocking contrast with Horace´s idea that dying ‘heroically’ for one´s country is glorious, , “blood-shod”. Furthermore, by using the simile “bent double, like old beggars under sacks” in the first line, the poet further conjures the image of destitute persons, exhausted from the heavy weight of their bags and
In the short period of four years from 1914-1918, the First World War killed six million men and destroyed countless more lives. Wilfred Owen was a British soldier who became bitter and cynical about the war after suffering from shell-shock. He turned to poetry and one of the poems he produced 'Dulce et Decorum Est'. Dulce et Decorum Est opens with a simile, setting the scene of war time, and Owen's opinion that war is not a noble thing. The first stanza ends with a hint of danger 'of gas shells dropping', but the soldiers, too tired and numb to notice, ignores it for the moment.
Owen compares soldiers fighting in war to sick old men because it shows that soldiers are like outcasts from society. At the top left of the poster, the image shown represents the difficulty and the terrible physical outcomes, soldiers found travelling on ground particularly in sludges as Wilfred Owen states in the first stanza: “Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge” The use of the word Knock-kneed is alliteration for emphasis, a hard, staccato sound to echo the harsh mood of these lines and soldier’s misery. It stresses echo the brutality of the soldiers’ destruction, their transformation from healthy young men into ‘beggars’ and ‘hags’. The use of the word coughing compares men to sick women, showing how they are unrecognisable; they have lost their masculinity, youth, health and therefore are now deemed to be outcast’s within the society. The word sludge is onomatopoeia to imply how heavy and difficult the ground is to cross for soldiers.
‘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.
The word ‘Anthem’ is used because it is a song of praise, which celebrates the soldiers’ heroism. Originally, ‘Dead’ was used in place of ‘Doomed.’ The title was changed by Seigfried Sassoon, who had taken Wilfred Owen under his wing when they met at a field hospital. Sassoon changed it because ‘Dead’ suggests being at peace; whereas, ‘Doomed’ suggests continued suffering. ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ literally translates to ‘It is Right and Proper’ which is ironic because the entire poem says it is anything but proper and right to died for one’s country. The rest of the poem undercuts the title.
Ones who died from these toxic gases were in a painful and miserable death. The ones that survived will never forget these images they saw and horrific experiences they had went through. Through Wilfred Owen’s imagery and Irony’s in his poem we can detect the tone, “Dulce et Decorum Est” is a horrific battle scene from World War I. The strong use of figurative language helps to interpret the real meaning of war. In the first line, "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks”, shows us that the troops are so tired that they look like old beggars, slouching from being so drowsy.