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Analysis Of Dulce Et Decorum Est

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Analysis Of Dulce Et Decorum Est 'All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true poets must be truthful.' The quote above is taken from one of Wilfred Owen's many letters home to his mother from the frontline. Dulce et Decorum Est, written from the Craiglockhart psychiatric hospital, is one of the most famous pieces within the genre of war poetry. Owen has become one of the most prolific poets of his generation, he depicted war as the atrocity it really was. His work was a contradiction to the patriotic works of writers such as Jessie Pope, drafts of the poem were dedicated to her in response to 'Who's for the game?' which, originally published in the Daily Mail, was a call to arms, encouraging young men to enlist. Owen himself was seduced by such propaganda and saw frontline action with the Second Manchester regiment, ironically he was killed in action on 4th November 1918. Whilst the poem was dedicated to Jessie Pope it is also aimed at older adults, parents, grandparents and politicians. ...read more.


There are many inverted sentences, for example in the first two lines 'Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, /Knocked-Kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,' this gives emphasis to the descriptions at the beginning of the phrase which further intensifies the images invoked by the piece. In the second stanza the tone of the poem changes, Owen uses the rhetorical feature of repetition in the first line along with exclamatory marks 'Gas! Gas! Quick Boys!' to demonstrate the panic that begins to set in as the men are subjected to a gas attack. There are many verbs used in this part of the text, 'fumbling', 'yelling', 'stumbling' and 'floundering' all give the reader a sense of the urgent action taking place to ensure that gas masks are fitted quickly. Again Owen uses a simile to intensify his imagery '...yelling out and stumbling, /And floundering like a man in fire or lime...' by comparing the mans action to someone being burnt alive Owen gives a vivid picture of the panic and fear the man exhibits. By using the word 'ecstasy' Owen creates a paradox which identifies the confusion of the situation, the men are so panic stricken that they cannot think properly. ...read more.


The line '...the blood /come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,' contains a number of pre-modified nouns which serve to increase the graphic nature of the description of the dying man along side the naivet´┐Ż of those sent off to war with little idea of the horrors they were about to face. Within this final stanza Owen employs the modal verbs 'Could' and 'Would' to demonstrate the change in attitude the reader might have if they were to experience these horrors for themselves. Though out the poem Owen depicts the true horrors of war which creates a juxtaposition with the title and the final line. He also uses many concrete nouns in the piece which has the effect of making the scene he sets more real to the reader, almost as though they are experiencing the images with him. The purpose of the piece is to demonstrate that there is no glory in following blind patriotism into war and ultimately to a painful and pointless death and it meets that purpose very effectively. ...read more.

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