What might you want to say about the poet's presentation of war in the poem Dulce Et Decorum Est? Briefly note down some points that you would want to include in your essay, then compare your ideas with those in our sample answer on the next page.
- War transforms soldiers, breaking them physically and mentally: 'Bent double' 'Knock-kneed'. Rather than glorious men, Owen presents the soldiers as weakened old 'hags'.
- The experience of war is something no soldier can escape: 'In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, / He plunges at me'.
- The effect of gas used in World War One is communicated to the reader through Owen's use of verbs linked to death by a lack of oxygen: 'guttering, choking, drowning', 'smothering'.
- Owen offers the reader very graphic imagery associated with suffering, aiming to present the truth about the war experience, arguably arising from his first-hand experience of war.
- Owen presents the soldiers as victims who have been betrayed by those who encouraged them to go to war. He uses words such as 'innocent' and 'children' to reinforce his positive attitude to the soldiers.
- Owen is bitter about war and the encouragement given to go to war. He angrily refers to 'The old Lie' that dying for your country is sweet and honourable.
- The detailed description of a soldier dying as a result of gas attack is intended to make the reader feel discomfort, forcing him or her to confront the reality of war, something which is far from honourable or sweet.
The Reality of War and Death Depicted in Owen's Poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est
1093 Words5 Pages
If we look at the history of the world with a kaleidoscope, we can see the different aspects of war and what effect it had on the mind of different people and artists such as poets, painters and authors. Many poets romanticized war, luring it with their pen and giving it a beautiful look by glorifying death and obliging young blood to fight for their motherland. For example the poems “Peace” by Rupert Brooke and “Fall In” by Harold Begbie painted war with the highlights of glamorous and sensation. Apart from poets there are also politicians who achieved their aims with the help of war and violence while others who used the weapons of non violence to achieve their goals. The most famous example is of Adolf Hitler who took the aid of war to…show more content…
The metaphor suggests that the men are so fatigued that they have lost their senses. To highlight this he says, “All went lame; all blind; /Drunk with fatigue; even to the hoots” (6-7). This demonstrates that the men have lost their human senses and dignity. The second stanza demonstrates no sweetness is present, only suffocation: “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling” (9). The soldiers are undergoing madness and are experiencing a gas shell attack. Owen uses a very powerful simile: “But someone still was yelling out and stumbling/ And flound’ ring like a man in fire or lime” (11-12). This is a personal experience of the speaker and the simile describes exactly what he wants to convey, (poisonous gas burns). Owen is portraying war as astoundingly disgusting, ” As under a green sea, I saw him drowning” (14). He believes that no human being should endure suffering, by fighting and getting tormented is the same as dishonoring men. The words that Owen uses creates a agonizing image. The next stanza only has two lines; this is because there is a shift from reality on the battlefield to the nightmare. There is a feeling of being haunted and desperate. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, / He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.” (15-16). There is great despair as the speaker cannot do anything to help and therefore it haunts him, it is like a stab of fear and pain. The horrors of war are further emphasized. The final stanza conveys that