Mental Cases & Dulce Et Decorum Est

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“My subject is War, and the pity of War. Poetry is in the pity”. This particular quote from Wilfred Owen himself uses repetition of the words ‘War’ and ‘Pity’ to give an indirect emphasis and imagery to the futility of war. This is one of many techniques in which he efficiently uses to present his perception through the reflection and writing of his poems. ‘Mental Cases’ and ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ are two outstanding pieces created by Owen, each using techniques such as hyperboles, personification and imagery that associate the two poems, giving us, the readers, a bigger picture of what is happening in the poets eyes. In the poem Mental Cases Owen expresses his perception that war is taking away a soldiers future, a life full of happiness. It illustrates the bloodshed and suffering of war, using a series of graphical description of young men who are treated for war-related illness’, such as shellshock. It was a heart-wrenching poem for Owen because he himself was a patient of shellshock. The repetition of question marks and dashes illustrate the confusion and frustration witnessing Owens fellow comrades, it is a demanding tone begging for explanation for the entrapment of victims. And as a result, it encourages the reader to consider the impact the war had on both, the soldiers who survived, and those who didn’t. Dulce et Decorum Est brings to reality that war is not what people say it is. Given by its very title, ‘It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country’. Although, it only an illusion reinforced throughout the poem, along with its irony and sarcasm that is ‘The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori’, it is not sweet and fitting to die for ones country. But it is the death and horror brought to peoples lives. The truth is revealed through this description of a battalion returning from the frontline, wounded, exhausted, or even dead. As the
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