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"Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen - creitical review

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Daniel Stern - English - War Poems "Dulce et Decorum Est" was written by Wilfred Owen during the First World War . Owen explains the problems and difficulties the soldiers had to face each day. The poet describes vividly yet honestly, what trench warfare was like. The poem begins with Owen explaining the feelings of the soldiers whilst they march towards the enemy. The soldiers are scared and frightened due to the lack of hope as they do not know when the terrible war will end. The dreadful conditions have a major impact on the young men and as a result, they look frail and elderly. Furthermore, diseases and general unhappiness were common among the fighters. This was because of the lack of food, adequate shelter and sanitation. However, they most importantly wanted to see their families again. The soldiers were advancing forward when the captain, Wilfred Owen, ordered the soldiers to run from "green sea" which is approaching them and put on their gas masks. All the soldiers instantly have to put on their gas masks, which causes a sudden rush of "fumbling/stumbling" and, unfortunately, "drowning." The third stanza, which is only two lines, emphasises the significant impact this incident had on the poet .The stanza conveys a powerful image in which the man dies, as he was too late in putting on his gas mask. ...read more.


The message from this poem is clear:Owen wants the public to be aware that it is not sweet nor is it appropriate to fight for their country. This is the complete contradiction to the title of the poem. Throughout the poem, Owen is extremely frank and gives an uncomplicated account of what he experienced as a soldier. For example, Owen is eager to destroy the false perceptions that the public have about the war: "My friend, you would not talk with such high zest..." In this line, which is from the last stanza, Owen declares that if the British public saw the obliteration and excessive amount of loss of life then they would not speak so greatly about going to war. Owen is being bitterly sarcastic in these lines because he knows that if the citizens of Britain witnessed life as a soldier then they would no longer be enthusiastic and supportive of the war. I found that this poem had an ability to move the reader through the intense description of destruction and death. The poem is an example of writing graphically yet being completely truthful. Owen does not withhold any information from the reader and conveys what it was like to fight in the Western Front. ...read more.


The rhythm only changed when the poet was stressing the impact the sudden and unexpected gas attack had on the advancing soldiers. " An ecstasy of fumbling....and stumbling." The poem takes the form of a dramatic monologue with a variety of figures of speech weaved into the poem. For instance, " obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud." Both similes efficiently portray how terribly horrifying the dead soldier's body looked. In conclusion, I enjoyed reading and studying "Dulce et Decorum Est" because it was unlike the majority of poems I have read about the First World War. I found Wilfred Owen to be a shockingly realistic and expressive writer. Nevertheless, he wrote an honest poem, which makes it even more appalling since they incidents did occur. Secondly, I feel that the name of the poem was suitable because many readers at that time would have expected the poem to be about the successes the British army had made. However, the poem painted a clear and evocative image of life as a soldier. The pain of this piece of writing is that it actually happened. Furthermore, the reader learns from "Dulce" that war is an ugly, brutal and frightening business, which has caused so much pain and misery of last century. I feel that when this poem was first published that it was aimed at intelligent and sensitive individuals. ...read more.

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