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Critical Analysis Of Dulce Et Decorum Est If You Were Asked To Choose A Poem To Be Included In An Anthology Of Great Twentieth Century Poetry, What Would It Be And Why?

1375 words - 6 pages

If you were asked to choose a poem to be included in an anthology of great twentieth century poetry, what would it be and why?If I were asked to submit a poem for an anthology of great 20th century poetry, I would choose 'Dulce et Decorum est' by Wilfred Owen. The reason that I chose this poem is because the reader gets a clear picture of what the western front was really like during world war one. Owen creates this picture by using vast amounts of imagery and uses his word choice to keep the reader enthralled in his work and the thought provoking theme.Owen's use of imagery gives the reader a picture of the cruel and ghastly conditions in the trenches during world war one. This makes 'Dulce et Decorum est' ones of the greats of twentieth century poetry. In Line one, Owen creates an image of the soldiers walking back from the front line."Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,"This image is created by using a simile to compare the soldiers to beggars. It shows that when the soldiers got a break to come back to the support trenches that they were often tired and injured. This gives the reader a shock as it goes against the stereotyped image of the soldiers that the people back in Britain had of them being tall, upright, fit, young men that they seen walking through the streets in parades. In line seventeen, Owen tries to wreck the idea of dying for your country being honourable by describing the effects on him as he walked behind the body of the dead soldier."If in some smothering dreams you too could paceBehind the wagon that we flung him in,And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,His hanging face, like a devil sick of sin;"After an attack, the surviving soldiers will try and recover as many of the dead bodies as they can and put them on to a cart and took them away. Owen isn't describing him actually being there at the time, but he is recalling his 'dreams' in which he is following the cart. The fact that the face is "hanging" means that no respect is given to the dead, which shows that the title of the poem is ironic. It gives the reader a nightmarish picture in which the soldiers have to walk behind the cart and face their fallen comrade. The best piece of imagery, in my opinion, is from line twenty-one to line twenty-four. Owen continues to describe the effects of the gas on the fallen comrade."If you could hear, at every jolt, the bloodCome gargling from the froth-corrupter lungs,Obscene as cancer, Bitter as the cudOf vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, -"This describes when the soldier that was killed during the gas attack has been put onto the cart and is getting dragged away. His lungs are full of air and blood and these mix to create a froth that comes up through his mouth like the "cud" when a cow regurgitates his food. This gives the impression that death on the western front was not beautiful or honourable at all but it was a thing that no human being on earth should ever go through. Owen's use of graphic images and...

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