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Dulce et Decorum Est - Critical Response.

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Introduction

Dulce et Decorum Est Critical Response By Rachel Salter The picture in my mind of war has always been terrifying and brutal, however after studying "Dulce et Decorum Est," cleverly written by Wilfred Owen, I realised that war is much more devastating than I could ever imagine. The poem has been bombarded with skilful and vivid imagery, a range of carefully chosen words and wonderfully constructed sentences. He has created a moving piece of poetry to convey to me the pity and horror of war. Throughout the poem, Owen has used a variety of similes to illustrate a vivid picture of the horror and suffering he was forced to endure. At the very beginning of the poem I am faced with a compelling simile leaving me not only pitiful towards the soldiers but also appalled by the conditions they had to endure, "Like old beggars under sacks." Owens use of imagery shatters any ideas I may have had of soldiers being well-groomed, polished and respectable young men and recreates a picture of helpless, dirty, senile old men, who would sometimes be looked down on in society. ...read more.

Middle

The use of the word "drunk" reveals to me that this feeling of tiredness was very strong, the word alone caused me immediately to think of staggering and uncontrolled gestures. Before reading Owen's work I thought soldier were always strong, aware and generally in quite good condition. However Owen teaches me the real horror of what the war did to people and their lives. Onomatopoeia has been used frequently in the poem to create an aural image along with the visual images the similes and metaphors provide. Owen uses this imagery in the word "hoots" to convey the sound of gas-bombs falling behind him. I feel Owen used this word as it is associated with quite an eerie and ghostly sound, which is heard late at night. This comparison reflects the fear the soldiers would have felt, while listening out for the bombs in case they were to fall anywhere nearby. I think that it is quite a powerful word to use in the circumstances he was faced with. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is used to convey to me the exhaustion and fatigue of the men. "Till on haunting flares we turned our backs and towards our distance rest we began to trudge." Suddenly at the opening of the next verse the sentences are short, sharp and to the point. "Gas! Gas! Quick boys." This contrast in the sentence structure emphasises the hurry and panic the men would be experiencing when the gas bomb fell. When I first read this passage I felt desperate to discover if all the men would survive and I felt distraught to learn that one man was too tried, even to save himself. Wilfred Owen has constructed a dynamic and thought provoking poem. He has cleverly manipulated his horrific experiences into original and intense imagery. His similes provide a vivid picture for me of the painful way war treated him. The use of metaphors creates a vast mental image of his emotions and his selective choice of words and variety in sentence structure helps describe for me the terror of his experiences. I was left with the truth of the horror and pity of war. ...read more.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

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