Dulce Et Decorum Est : How Does The Poet Use Imagery And Versification To Get His Point Across?

966 words - 4 pages

Dulce et Decorum Est is a depiction of an event in a day in the life of a solider, presenting the harsh reality of war. The poet, Wilfred Owen, is dismissing "the old Lie", war propaganda, that it is sweet and noble to die for your country by showing the cruel actuality of life in the trenches, with the aim to change the way society thinks about conflict.In the first verse, Wilfred Owen uses punctuation to slow down the pace of the poem, imitating the speed at which the soldiers are marching. He places a comma at the end of each phrase to force the poem to be read as if weary, and as the poem is written in the first person, the reader of the poem becomes that disheartened person. This helps the reader to understand the extreme exhaustion the poet is feeling, and draws them into the situation, in preparation for events to come.Wilfred Owen produces an eerie atmosphere by using phrases such as "marched asleep". "drunk with fatigue" and "deaf even to the hoots of gas-shells dropping softly behind". This provokes the idea that the soldiers are fully contained within their own minds, not responding to outside events, just marching on as they have become accustomed to, without thinking about it.Owen shows his own resentment of the time by using negative, downbeat verbs and nouns such as "coughing", "cursed", "trudge" and "sludge". He describes how many of the soldiers lacked footwear, after being on their feet for many days, and were forced to march with blood on their feet taking the place of foot protection: "Many had lost their boots, but limped on, blood shod". This helps to describe the awful conditions he and his fellow soldiers were forced to live in, and the ways this environment affected them.In verse two, the tempo of the poem suddenly picks up. The soldiers, and likewise the now-involved readers, are suddenly made to be alert by cries of "gas". The repetition of this single syllable-word and the following sharp "Quick, boys!" speeds up the rate at which the poem must be read, recreating the urgency of the soldiers. This is also recreated by using words associated with rushing, such as "fumbling", "clumsy", "stumbling" and "floundering". These also show the chaos amongst the men, and the lack of stability. The quick pace is kept up by using alliteration, "fumbling", "floundering", "fitting", to keep the words tripping from the reader's mouth, as well as many short conjunctives such as "but" and "and" to maintain the high pressure of the situation, until it is released in line 14. The phrase "I saw him drowning" instantly catches the reader, slowing them down. It is the first time a pronoun is used in the second paragraph, and again drives in the reality and authenticity of such a situation, through having "direct contact" with someone who has...

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