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Dulce Et Decorum Est, By Wilfred Owen Explication.

3007 words - 12 pages

These are the comments that my professor made on my first draft: "In many ways this is an outstanding paper. Your explication is thorough and insightful. Here and there you choose a word that isn't perfect; here and there your phrasing could be improved; but overall, you communicate your understanding clearly to the reader."I made the appropriate changes and submitted the following paper:Dulce et Decorum Est - ExplicationMany writers and critics have often commented that Wilfred Owen is one of the best poets of the 20th Century (Criticism). Many of his poems and letters showed, with great description, his point of view regarding the brutalities war. It is his experience in the war that inspired much of his work. "Dulce Et Decorum Est" is an example of the kinds of poems that show the horrors that Owen experienced and opposed.If one only reads the title, then the first thing that comes to mind is that this is a poem of glory and patriotism. The words "Dulce et Decorum Est" mean "it is sweet and fitting" (Owen). These words are from a Latin saying taken from an ode by Horace. These words were widely used during the start of World War I to inspire patriotism and the concept of duty to country (Wilfred). The complete saying is "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." This is also how this poem ends. Translated, it says, "it is sweet and fitting to die for your country" (Wilfred). The main purpose of this saying was to let the men know that there was great glory and honor to die for one's country.It is only after reading the rest of the poem that one can see that the title is meant to be sarcastic. There is nothing sweet or fitting in this poem. In fact, it is completely the opposite. The description of blood, pain, fatigue, and death really do not inspire a sense of sweetness. Dying for one's country, at least in the way described in the poem, is not fitting at all.In the first two lines Owen does two things for the reader. First, he describes what the soldiers look like during their march. The soldiers are "bent double, like beggars under sacks" (1). This describes that these soldiers are walking bent down due to the weight of their packs. This weight that bends them could also be the weight that battle, duty, and responsibility places on soldiers.Second, he identifies himself with the soldiers in the poem. The end of line 2 reads, "we cursed through sludge." This shows that the narrator, and Owen, has first hand experience with the events in the poem. Thus, he is a more credible individual to describe and criticize the fallacies of war. Also by placing himself in the poem he shows that it requires first hand experience to comment, write, criticize, or glorify war.In fact, in a letter to his mother, Susan Owen, dated 8 August 1917, he criticizes Lord Alfred Tennyson for writing so heroically about war. Owen doubts that Tennyson ever experienced the horrors that he, Owen, actually experienced being in war himself. He writes that he doubts that...

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