Dulce Et Decorum Est; It Is Sweet And Proper To Die For One’s Country.

684 words - 3 pages

This ironic yet contradictorily toned piece is arguably one of poet Wilson Owen’s best known. The main idea of this poem is Owen’s wish to tell those at home about the true horrors of the war; to override the lies being told in Australia; and this intention is shown clearly through his intricate use of numerous poetic devices. Gruesomely graphic imagery; combined with a gradually increasing intensity and his subtle yet effective use of apostrophe truly aid and abet Owen in portraying his beliefs and attitude towards the glorification of war.
This twenty-eight lined poem is split into four uneven stanzas, and there is distinct reference throughout the poem to a theme of claustrophobia. This is seen through Owen’s vocab choices of “…drowning…”, “…smother…” and “…under a green sea…”. This takes away the perception of war being an open and somewhat ‘free’ fight, as men were sleeping where they fought and being ordered to do things that they did not wish to do. Gone too is the idea that war is all glory; clean and properly fought. “Drunk with fatigue” is a metaphor which stirs vivid mental images in even the most sober of Catholics, and prompts the reader to have an idea of the exhausting physical and mental anguish that these soldiers withstood. And to make things worse, when they have finally fought enough to earn the opportunity for a period of ‘rest’, they are attacked with gas; an offence which is quite distanced and senseless. And that one moment in which a soldier was too late to pull on his mask, is the moment which disregards any form of glory in the killing of a foe. Graphic imagery disgusts yet intrigues the reader, with the final stanza applying to the finishing strokes to Owen’s mental picture.
Not only that, but the final eight lines are directed at Owen’s main intended audience; those advertising the war in a glorified manner, yet not actually fighting in it...

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