The Disillusionment From Romantic Warfare In The Trenches Of World War I

952 words - 4 pages

World War I is often regarded as the Great War. It was fought from 1914 until 1918 and it is considered to be the bloodiest war humankind has led so far. In merely four years a whole generation of young men was wiped out: approximately 16, 5 million lives were lost, even more were wounded, and the rest that had managed to survive was traumatized for life. One of the reasons why there were so many human casualties was the fact that World War I turned out to be the first trench warfare in history. The sense of permanent stalemate brought about great disillusionment from the romantic idea of warfare and the concept of the soldier was no more one/that of an honourable warrior but that of a ...view middle of the document...

For that he is awarded with a humiliating, terrible death, which the narrator witnesses from behind his mask, “through the misty panes” (Owen). The guilt of not being able to help his comrade and the horror of the sight of his excruciating death follows the narrator and haunts him in his dreams, suggesting that the poet suffered from a serious case of shell shock: “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight/ He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning” (Owen). Despite his efforts to depict the terrifying event to the reader, Owen knows that no one can truly understand the horror of the trenches, of war, unless they have experienced it at firsthand. This is a direct reference to all those who have never fought in an actual battle that/how they should not talk proudly of the victories of war because they are not theirs to celebrate. They are the soldiers’, who are merely used as pawns, as canon meat, and after they fulfil their purpose they’re tossed aside and forgotten very fast. Owen uses the old Latin saying ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’ (‘It is sweet and honourable/proper to die for one’s country’) both in the title of the poem as well as in the final lines. The saying adequately represents the old, romantic, mythologized idea o war, in which warriors, “ardent for some desperate glory” (Owen), can achieve it along with immortality if they die an honourable, patriotic death, protecting what is dear and holly to them. Owen both criticizes this “old Lie” (Owen), the idealistic picture of war which political propaganda embedded in the minds of the young soldiers, and disillusions it by giving his detailed and precise recollection as an eyewitness of those gruesome events in the trenches. No death is sweet nor...

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