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Commentary- Dulce Et Decorum Est

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Commentary- Dulce Et Decorum Est The poem 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' was written by Wilfred Owen in response to the patriotic poem, 'Who's for the Game' by Jessie Pope, to convey the reality of trench warfare in World War One. The title is certainly sarcastic, as it is Latin for 'It is sweet and right to die for your country', which is reinforced by the sombre tone of the poem is there throughout, but it also becomes aggressive and even bitter in places. The first stanza begins with two similes, which immediately bring the readers attention to the horrors of war, "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,/Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through the sludge" This begins with 'Bent double', which suggests that they are in great pain, and the line continues with the simile of 'like old beggars under sacks'. This is ironic because the men are not 'old', and the use of 'beggars' implies that they have nothing. Also, the use of 'sacks' indicates the load that the solders are having to carry from the war, both the literal 'load' and the psychological 'load'. ...read more.


Here, Owen successfully created an alarmed atmosphere through the use of exclamation marks and the use of certain lexis, such as 'boys' indicates that the solders are very young. The writer goes on to use 'ecstasy of fumbling', which suggests to the reader that the men are very afraid, and are desperate to get their gas masks on. Owen continues the stanza with a man who did not get his gas masks on in time, and he is described as, "flound'ring like a man in fire or lime". The whole line indicated that the man is in a great amount of pain, but specific words like 'flound'ring' highlights how b ad it was, as this suggests that the man is completely helpless. Also, 'in fire or lime' suggest that the man is burning, another example of how the lexis helps the reader better understand the horrors of war. This stanza ends with, "As under a green sea, I saw him drowning". The water imagery Owen uses suggests that the man can not get any air, and the use of 'green sea' implies that the air is toxic, and the gas cloud is vast. ...read more.


Owen continues to describe the mans face, and this definitely identifies the horrors of war, "His hanging face, like a devils sick of sin". The use of 'hanging' suggests that the man is almost dead, then the use of the simile, 'like a devils sick of sin' implies that even the devil would be disgusted by what is going on, or it is indicating that this is completely unnatural because the devil is not relishing in sin. The stanza carries on to describe the blood coming from the man's lungs "bitter as the cud/ Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues". As 'cud' is something which comes out of sores, the horror of war implied in this part and 'cud' is a hard word, which suggests the pain the man is going through. Moreover, Owen writes, 'innocent tongues', which indicates that none of the men deserve this, and as tongue is made plural, the reader realises that this solder represents the pain of all the solders in the war. The poem ends with a sarcastic reference to the title, calling it an "old Lie". Here, Owen attempts to show the public the horrors of war, which he achieves by putting it in a very matter-of-fact manner. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lucy Judd ...read more.

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