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Dulce Et Decorum Est, By Wilfred Owen.

1084 words - 4 pages

Dulce et Decorum est, by Wilfred Owen.

The First World War was an event that brought to many people, pain,
sorrow and bitterness. Accounts of the war shows that no other war
challenged existing conventions, morals and ideals in the same way as
did World War. Many people touched by the terrror of the war have
written pieces of literature about the massacre that was World War 1,
wishing people to understand the horror and tragedy that befell those
involved. "Dulce et Decorum est", by Wilfred Owen, is one such elegy
that presents to the reader a vivid, horrifying description of World
War 1, aiming to illustrate that war is not romantic and heroic, but a
senseless and devastating event. In this poem, techniques such as
imagery, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia and contrast are used
to express Owen's angry and bitter view towards what happened in the
war.

"Dulce et Decorum Est" uses strong images to convey Owen's feelings
about the war, and to force the reader to take his view. Ghastly
pictures of the war occur throughout the poem, largely in the last
stanza, working together to present a vivid picture of the war. These
images, utilised by Owen, show the ultimate irony and the moral of the
poem, that it is not in fact a sweet fate to die for one's country
even though others may think it heroic. This irony is illustrated
using juxtaposition at the end of the poem. The men who enlist are
"innocent", they are "children" who have learned that war is full of
"high zest" and this makes them "ardent for some desperate glory".
These innocent boys are willing to believe the Lie but will think
differently once they experience the war first hand.

Descriptive language is used throughout the poem to evoke specific
responses to the reader. In the opening of the poem, Owen aims to show
the unco-ordination and awkwardness of the soldiers in the war, and
how much they do not belong there. He describes the soldiers as "bent
double, like old beggars under sacks", "knock-kneed", "limping on",
"all lame, all blind", being "drunk with fatigue" and "deaf". All
these descriptions of the soldiers show the reader the suffering they
had to endure and the hardships that they had to face. This is backed
up by the description that "men marched asleep". This description of
the soldiers, of how they "limped on, blood shod" gives the reader an
impression that they can no longer comprehend what is going on around
them, that they are "blind" and "deaf" to the world.

Metaphors are used to illustrate more vividly the descriptions used in
the poem. This is evident in the description of the soldiers as "old
beggars under sacks". This not only says that they are tired, but that
they are so tired they have been brought down to the level of beggars
who have not slept in a bed for weeks on end. In the description "his
hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin" Owen compares the gas
victim's face to the devil seeming corrupted and baneful....

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