Unexpected and contrasting descriptions of the soldiers such as referring to them as “bent double, like old beggars under sacks”, and associating them with animals by referring to them as “blood shod”, also changes the reader’s perception of what conditions were like during the war. In relation to their harsh portrayal, Owen uses similes such as “coughing like hags” to help produce a pitiful sense of anguish for the soldiers, as well as, for emphasis on their weariness, and both mental and physical strain, verbs such as “trudge”, “limped” and “bent”. Another technique used in the last line of the stanza, to accentuate the secrecy and display the soldiers’ unawareness, is the sibilance in the ironic line of “gas-shells dropping softly behind”. In contrast to the first stanza, the second stanza is filled with action. One of the primary techniques used to speed up the pace is that of repetition and use of punctuation, as seen in the line” Gas!
The first stanza directly addresses the reader, he opens with two rhetorical questions, “Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?” (1) These sentences are grammatically incorrect and use distorted language. This is symbolic of the disturbed and unstable minds of the soldiers. Using these questions he directly speaks to his audience as well as incorporating a major theme of the poem, insanity. “Drooping tongues from jaws that slob like relish.” (3) This line uses imagery to metaphorically compare men to animals and show how bad the condition of the soldiers really is.
Both poems use nightmare underwater imagery, in ‘Dulce...’ Owen describes a soldier as he starts “drowning” under a “green sea” when he is overcome by gas. This creates a disturbing psychological image for the reader and conveys how toxic the gas was. Similarly, in ‘The Sentry’ the soldier’s body is described as “sploshing in the flood”, this representation conveys the harsh environment the soldiers had to live in. Repetition is also used in both poems. In ‘The Sentry’, the repetition of “I’m blind” helps give a sense of the increasing distress of the soldier as he realises he has lost his sight.
This notion is further emphasised through the use of jargon in the lines, “The Japs used to weigh us, to see how thin our bodies could get before we started dying”. This statement implies the nature of the camp to be brutal and unforgivable. Misto has incorporated both visual images and jargon to create an effective sense of authority to therefore relive their experience of war through memory. Likewise, the poem Dulce et decorum est by Wilfred Owen is how the post himself saw war with no knowledge, imagination or training which prepared Owen for the shock and suffering of front line experience. Its horrifying imagery has made it one of the most popular condemnations of war ever written.
Death was a constant companion to those serving in the line, even when they weren't under attack, many would die of disease. They would have to face body lice, rodents, small amounts of food, and some hated the life in the trenches so much, they would cause self-inflicted wounds so that they could be sent home. Before that though, the first thing a new recruit would be overwhelmed with on the way to the front line would be the smell, the smell of rotting bodies in shallow graves, men who had not washed in weeks, the lasting odour of
Discuss how Owen’s perspective on human conflict is conveyed in his poetry. Wilfred Owen’s personal experience at war is reflected in his poetry, depicting the brutality of war and conflict. He portrays his perspective about human conflicts in his poetry and effectively conveys the truth about the agony of war in his war poems, ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ (Dulce) and ‘Mental Cases’. To portray his attitudes towards war, Owen uses a diversity of poetic devices to shock and emotionally stir his readers. As a semi-autobiographical recount, Owen criticises the suffering and psychological scarring of soldiers in ‘Mental Cases’.
It is barbaric, awful and a terrible waste of human life. The rain is constantly flooding the trenches and turning the floor into mud, it is so bad that many of the men are getting open sores on their feet, they call it trench foot and they can hardly walk because of the pain. Life here is gruesome. Yesterday I saw my friend, Michael Phellps, die right in front of me because he had lost his gas mask and the enemy's gas was everywhere in the air. We couldn't do anything but watch him die, screaming for help.
I see men begging to have their feet removed, the flesh on their feet rotting away because of the chronic wet conditions in the trenches. I see the dozens of dead bodies of my fallen brethren accumulating in the trenches because it is too dangerous most times to give them a proper burial. I close my eyes today and still cannot escape the sounds of war–the constant gunfire, tank blasts, and the screams of men. I still see enemy soldiers overtaken by mustard gasses, blood streaming from their eyes and mouths and their desperate gasps for air. I remain inspired by my brothers, for we soldiers are able to keep our spirits high despite these conditions.
Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ describes a particular scene in the lives of WWI soldiers. Owen opens the poem with a description of the soldiers who are ‘Bent double, like old beggars’ (line 1). The soldiers are tired, fatigued, their feet are bleeding; they are marching from the battlefield towards their camp for some rest. They are then attacked by poisonous gas, effects of which are similar to drowning. One of the soldiers fails to fit the gas mask in time, and Owen masterfully describes himself witnessing the soldier’s gruesome death.
This illustrates how bad the circumstances are for the soldiers fighting, and goes against the idealistic image of what a battle should look like or how a soldier should appear after a battle. The way Owen tells this story shows that his view of the war was that the soldiers have no comprehension of a righteous cause or a meaning behind their sacrifice. Specifically, the rhyming, tone, and imagery will all help to demonstrate that point. Owen uses the rhyming in the poem to help reflect his own personal beliefs about war onto the reader. The rhymes that Owen chooses are particularly useful for finding out what his message to the reader here is.