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Dulce Et Decorum Est Essay

1211 words - 5 pages

World War One was one of the deadliest results of human violence, simply to attain riches, land, and to fulfill the greed for victory and pride. Young and old men alike were deceived into joining war to fulfill a fictitious and nationalistic duty, and were forced to live in the inhumane conditions in the trenches, offering their lives as a patriotic duty. In Wilfred Owen’s poem, “Dulce et decorum est”, the readers are given an accurate description of the hardships and horrors of the world war 1, through the personal experience and eyes of Owen himself. Poetic devices and figurative language were both used immaculately in representing the tormenting situations that the soldiers were placed in. Vibrant imagery, themes and irony were also incorporated exceptionally into the poem, adding depth and meaning. With a remarkable use of techniques, Owen really creates a mental image of utter despair, disgust, revulsion and well, war in our minds.

The horrible conditions and quality of life in the trenches of World War One are emphasized with Owen’s use of figurative language, such as similes, metaphors and personification. An excellent example of a simile would be what he wrote in the first line of the poem, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knock kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through the sludge” (stanza 1, line 1 and 2). This description portrays the soldiers to be ‘crippled or ‘broken’, and shows them to be left both psychologically and physically scarred. It really helps us to visualize a group of young men who are in fact exhausted and so “drunk with fatigue”(stanza 1, line 7) that they are unable to even stand upright, and have lost most control over their physical actions. By bringing in these similes, Owen adds more significance to the poem and successfully conveys the early ageing effects of war on its young soldiers. Metaphors are also widely and effectively incorporated into the poem by Wilfred Owen. When the gas entered the trenches, it formed a blanket of some sort, creating a sea of deadly gas. Owen describes this simply, yet dramatically by saying that he “saw him drowning” (stanza 2, line 14), which implies that Owen may have seen a man gasping for air, unable to properly function, plunging at Owen before getting engulfed by the “green sea” (stanza 1, line 14). As can be seen by just a few of the variety of examples, Owen persuasively uses similes and metaphors to convey his message about the misery and oppression practiced during world war 1.

A few other figurative techniques used by Owen to enhance the reader’s experience include personification and imagery. Owen further augments his poem by the giving inanimate objects the ability to carry out human actions. The abhorrent lifestyle adopted by the soldiers in world war 1 are further described in the line: “If in some smothering dreams you too could pace” (Stanza 4, line 17). This is an effective use of personification and word connotation, as it suggests that Owen was...

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