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"Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen

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Introduction

"Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen "Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen, is a poem used to involve the reader into a powerful impression of the First World War. Owen does this effectively using descriptive language, word choice and imagery. Owen describes his experience when his group of exhausted young soldiers return from a battle to be surprised by a gas attack. Using these techniques, Owen portrays - in a negative light - his feelings of the war and subjects the reader to a gruesome awakening of this era, exposing his title as an ironic lie. In the opening lines of the poem, Owen sets the scene as the soldiers return from the exhausting battlefield. Using similes, he reveals the men as run-down: "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks," (Line 1) Owen portrays the soldiers as unhealthy animals as he dehumanises them by referring to them as "beggars" and "hags". ...read more.

Middle

This is reinforced by "fitting the clumsy helmets" in which personification is used to indicate the lack of co-ordination, dexterity and emotional strength the soldiers demonstrate. Owen sets the scene of the gas attack superbly. Using intense and metaphorical language he manages to create a picture that seems almost reality as a man fails to secure his helmet. "And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime" (Line 12) This simile describes a man in agony. Calcium Oxide was used to burn through flesh during the war and was a lime green colour. The poet's use of "lime" has connotations of agonizing pain as the flesh burns unmercifully whilst "flound'ring" highlights the writhing and squirming of the soldier's pain. Owen creates a vivid, intense picture of a man almost dancing with hysteria and agony. Owen pleads with the reader to justify his argument by forcing us to put ourselves in his position. ...read more.

Conclusion

Owen exposes the lie as giving children a false hope and sense of reality. He reveals that brainwashing children into passion for a horrific experience they could face one day, is disgusting and immoral. "children" reinforces the theme of innocence as it is juxtaposed with "desperate" which suggests that children crave what they think of an adventure: Owen brutally contradicts this. "Dulce Et Decorum Est" is an accurate account of the horrors the brave, young soldiers faced during the war. Wilfred Owen justifies his anti-war protest by revealing the true nature of war. Through descriptive language, word choice and imagery, the reader is given the opportunity to see past the idea of war being noble and honourable. Owen exposes war for what he believes it really is; a disgusting waste of life. The reader feels forced to explore this issue further as war is a relevant topic today. Owen presents his account on war in a desperate plead for us to understand the horrors the men endured: a project proven more than successful. Kathleen Gillies 825 words ...read more.

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