On the other hand, ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ brings about extreme patriotism, that it is sweet and seemly to die for one’s country, though the poem itself discourages the act. “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori”. Owen uses his personal experiences to present an incredibly realistic image, and sets out to shock his readers. Owen expresses his anger at this waste of life shown in his description of the man’s suffering, it all seems unfair. In the first stanza of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, the reader is drawn in with: “Bent double” .
The poem also gives a horrific description of a soldier dying in a gas attack, while his comrades look on helplessly. Ultimately, the poem builds to a climax, where Owen points the finger of blame at those who encouraged young men to enlist through their patriotic propaganda. In particular, this poem was written in direct response to Jessie Pope’s poem, “Who’s for the Game,” which advocated the glory of war. Owen clearly conveys his fury at this notion and presents the true brutality of war through a variety of poetic techniques. The title and structure of the poem contrasts with the content of the poem, helping to convey Owen’s anger at those who advocated war.
‘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.
The fact that an observer cannot recognise this group as members of their own species further dehumanises the soldiers and shows the reader just how much that war has impacted on these men, both physically and mentally. ‘Set-smiling corpses’ shows us a clever wordplay used by Owen, in that smiling has normally positive connotations but Owen has troped the image into one of negativity, to one of death and despair. These men are not smiling due to happiness, rather madness and death. Wordplay is also utilised in the word ‘rucked’. This gives us a picture of a footy match, but in reality there is a horrific image to behold - one of dead bodies piled in heaps.
Hardy uses slang to get the reader involved in the poem, this allows Hardy to make a strong point in highlighting the irony behind how war can turn friend into foe simply by association and sway the reader against war. Both poems are against war and the reasons and ethics behind them. Though Hardy uses a more direct approach to get his point across, both poems successfully complete the objective that the poets had for them, which was to open the reader's eyes to the true reality of war. In "Dulce et decorum est", Owen is showing how the press and public at home were comforting themselves in the belief that all the young men dying in the war were dying noble, heroic deaths. Owen on the other hand, shows how the reality was quite different; the young men were dyeing and deaths in the trenches.
The poem Dulce et Decorum Est is filled with many disturbing images, death and suffering. Wilfred Owen is able to portray his perception of war by using strong imagery to show how barbaric the war was and how life is so easily wasted. The poet uses the figures of speech, the simile and metaphor in one sentence to convey the devastating way in which soldiers die. This can be seen when it is written, “And floundering like a man in fire or lime….As under a green sea I saw him drowning,”(line12-14)by doing this Wilfred Owen successfully compares how soldiers died at that time to be something that a human should normally not endure. This reveals the brutality and waste of life experienced.
As a result of the war Billy is negatively impacted. He faces many hardships that affect him physically. One instance where Billy is physically forced to cope with the cruelty caused by war is when he is humiliated and oppressed by the German soldiers: “They threw Billy into the shrubbery. When Billy came out… they menaced him with their machine pistols” (58). The German soldiers torment Billy Pilgrim for self-satisfaction because he is an easy target.
Throughout the collection of war poems by Wilfred Owen, all the poems share the same subject; “the pity of war”. Therefore unpleasant details and exaggerated emotions play a big part from a war poet who was serving for his country in World War One. W.B. Yeats dismissed Owen’s poetry as ‘all blood’ and ‘dirt’ you could argue that Owen is a little obsessed with it but with no hope and constant death surrounding him on the Western Front who can blame him for feeling this way? The war poem collection could also be considered to face other aspects of war not necessarily the graphic events, but the hatred of civilians, justified details and distractions from war such as coping mechanisms.
The titles of each poem are misleading, in the sense that what they suggest is contradicted in the content of the poem. ‘The Soldier’ suggests and conjures up sad, or a wasted life. But the poem itself revels in the fact that fighting in war for the sole purpose of defending one’s country is memorable, hence encouraging the act “And think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given”. On the other hand, ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ brings about patriotism, which it is sweet and seemly to die for one’s country. The poem reveals the cold truth about war with dislike, therefore discouraging the act.
It was easy to imagine the exhausted soldiers “bent double, like old beggars under sacks” and “drunk with fatigue.” The suddenness of the gas attack and the urgent voices were mimicked by the capital letters in “Gas! GAS!”. An “ecstasy of fumbling” took place as the men tried desperately to pull on their gas masks. One man failed and the poet saw the dying man “as under a green sea, I saw him drowning.” To the soldiers, the swirling mists of the mustard gas looked like a large suffocating ocean. The poet emphasised the cruel and horrible side to war by realistically describing the dead soldier, “the white eyes writhing in his face.” As the wagon he was “flung” into jolted, his blood “came gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.” The poet conveyed the theme of his poem very successfully.