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Analysing Willfred Owen's 'Dulce Et Decorum Est'.

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'Dulce ET Decorum Est' is an anti-war poem, which emphasizes the intensity of war. The meaning of the ironic title roughly translated into 'it is good and honourable' but is not fully established until you examine the poem. The full title 'Dulce ET Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori' means 'it is good and honourable to die for your country'. However the main aspect of this poem is paradoxical to its title. This demonstrates the message Wilfred Owen's is insinuating and his attitude towards war. The poem is regarding Wilfred Owen and his troop of exhausted soldiers making their way back to base after combat at the front line until a gas shell is fired at them. A soldier is fatally gassed, is put in an ambulance dying slowly and then eaten away from the inside. Owen describes a man being engulfed by gas, "Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, Under a green sea I saw him drowning." The death and distress is shown and the harsh actuality of war uncovered. It is almost as though you are reliving the agony the man is suffering. The reader is nowhere near as unfortunate as Wilfred. He was repeatedly tortured by his experiences even after having to encounter them. ...read more.


The graphic imagery is of the soldiers staggering onwards purposelessly, not fully certain of what is going on as they are in a drunk, zombie-like condition. They are so dazed that they are unable to hear the gas-bombs plummet behind them. Even if they could, it is unlikely that they would have the strength to turn around or take cover. The following line is a considerable contrast to being 'drunk with fatigue', "Gas! GAS! Quick boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling." The lower case to capital letter in 'Gas! GAS!' evokes rising alarm. The use of exclamation marks enforces the words are shouted rather than said. The group have been forced into 'an ecstasy of fumbling' after being so weary they had no concern what happened to them as long as they got back to base. When the protection of the soldiers' lives had been compromised, it was every man for himself. The persistent dangers the troop were in never rested, like a sleepless monster permanently looming over them ready to strike at any time. The psychological image that appears is of a huge rush to do something so simple as to live on. The form of the poem also manages to reflect Owens feelings of hatred and disgust at the war. ...read more.


This reinforces Wilfred's anti-propaganda thoughts. I have also acknowledged that war is far more devastating then I first imagined. "Behind the wagon we flung him in" Is a true illustration of the poor mental and physical health the soldiers were in. There were so many deaths that flinging a dead or dying man into a wagon developed into routine. He is treated like nothing more than a piece of meat, tossed without consideration. Personally, I feel quite powerless as I read about the horrors undergone but cannot do anything to aid the pain once and still endured. Owen has created a way that transports the reader back to the scene of the poem. Using the effectiveness of the senses. He describes the sounds, the smells and the sights around to give the feeling that you witnessing the happenings expressed. My final contemplations to conclude this analysis are not in despair but queries, whether it is rhetorical or not I am not completely sure. The thing that concerns me is how the government send men off to fight war when under the misapprehension that they are fighting for their country? Do they have no conscious, no guilt in sending the doomed youth off to their inevitable deaths? The decisions they make obviously have repercussions as do all decisions, but to knowingly condemn so many innocent people to physical and mental torture then death, to me is worse murder, is it not? ...read more.

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