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How vividly does Wilfred Owen describe war and its consequences in the poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est”?

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Introduction

How vividly does Wilfred Owen describe war and its consequences in the poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est"? Wilfred Owen's poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est" was written during his World War I experience. Owen was an officer in the British Army, who deeply opposed the intervention of one nation into another. His poem explains how the British press and public comforted themselves with the fact that, terrible that is was, all the young men dying in the war were dieing noble, heroic deaths. The reality was quite different: They were dieing obscene and terrible deaths. Owen wanted to try to hurl the pain of war in the face of the reader to illustrate how vile and inhumane it really was. Owen uses language very effectively to fulfil his intentions. The beginning sentence "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks" instantly creates an image in our minds of battle weary men, dirty and of poor health. These men have had their statuses reduced to those of beggars'. We think of soldiers as being smart and attentive but the poet uses phrases, which indicate that the violent nature of war has reduced these soldiers to being undignified beings. ...read more.

Middle

In the next four lines of the verse, there is a vivid, visual description of the death of the man who failed to put his helmet on in time. The man's death is described as a drowning in a green sea of gas. The sea, a violent and turbulent place symbolises the violence of war. The overpowering, deadly gas (like the overpowering sea) rose above his head and "drowned" him in the same way that the sea might drown a person. In the next two-line verse, Owen describes how the death he is witnessing is in the realm of a dream, but more of a nightmare with the horror of a moan falling towards him in the throes of death, but he is a statue, incapable of helping the poor innocent man who is trying to fight a battle for his life, which cannot possibly be won. In the second line of the final verse, he talks about the wagon, which they "flung" the dead body in. There is a sense of vast irony afflicted upon the reader whilst reading this line because at the time war was honourable, and to die for your country would be a glorious death, but there is no honour in the death of this man as he is treated as carelessly as rags and thrown into the wagon. ...read more.

Conclusion

He explains in his poem that the title of the poem means " Sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country," and then Owen continues his poem by ending that the title is, in fact, a lie. Most will not have seen the war like Owen did, but through his vivid words and his gruesome portrayal, I think we all can know that we do not want to see war. This poem comes from a first hand source who had to endure the war. It is a soldier's interpretation of a war he was a part of and the pain of this piece of writing is its truth. This graphic horrible scene created by the poem is really, which makes this poem more horrifying. The descriptive elements really illustrate the narrators feeling. It is said a picture paints a thousand words, but in this case with the language used it can be said a word can paint a thousand pictures. This choppy descriptive language is brutally honest and makes it easy to look into the mind of the author. The author has nothing good to say about war. He says that war is dehumanising, humiliating, and vicious and his poem successfully justifies his views. ...read more.

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