"Dulce Et Decorum Est" Analysis

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Dulce et decorum est is a poem by Wilfred Owen written during world war I, while he was in the trenches. The title is the first part of a quotation by Horace’s Odes: “Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori” that means “It’s sweet and honourable to die for your country” but the whole poem aims at contradicting the title. His style is experimental in fact he uses the free verse. In the first stanza Owen describes the subject, that are the soldiers, through similies such as “Old beggars” and “Hags” because he wants to show us anti-heroic figures, going against the propaganda that encourages young men to go fighting and dying for their country preaching the ideals of nationalism, glory and courage. Owen describes us horrible and degraded scenes of the real life in war and he adds emphasis using allitterations: of the b in the first line Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, of the kn in the second, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, of the m in the fifth, Men marched asleep. Many had lost their bootsof the b again in the sixth of the d But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; In the second stanza he describes us a specific episode, the dead by gas, using another experimental tool, the direct speech, to add phatos. -Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – He uses even the I-figure in the 14th line, because he feels one of the soldiers. The third stanza, where he describes the death of a soldier, is the shortest, but three words are enough to makes us feel the horror that he feels: guttering, chocking, drowning. The fourth stanza is the most important because he appeals to the reader: he’s talking to the whole country who encourage young men to go dying in the threnches telling them that if they could see what he had seen: My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardentfor some desperate glory, The old

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