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Wilfred Owen - Dulce Et Decorum Est

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Wilfred Owen was a Captain of the British Army and witnessed the slaughter of the war first hand. Within his poetry, Owen portrays war as a dehumanizing and horrific event. 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' is significant in conveying his negative attitudes towards the effects of war on soldiers and he does this by using metaphorical language and vivid imagery. Firstly, in conveying Owens ideas about the reality of war he uses many literary devices. For example, in the first stanza he uses a simile when describing a troop of soldiers as "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks," the simile shows the men are depict of being old and leaves the reader to imagine a group men hunched over, to beaten to stand up straight, portraying the men as weak and vulnerable, when the war was meant to about men being proud to fight for their country. Also "knock- Kneed, coughing like hags" also indicates how these young men have aged long before their time, and that their health has deteriorated since fighting in the war. Another example is when Owen describes a man that has been poisoned by gas; "Flound'ring like a man in fire or lime" this simile really illustrates the hopelessness of the man because of the word "Flound'ring". ...read more.


the use of alliteration expresses how immensely exhausted they were as they have probably not slept for months and perhaps that even in their sleep, they still felt like they were marching because it was such a continuous process and to some extent alliteration is also. Personification and onomatopoeia is also used to develop Owens concept of the war. For example, the word "trudge" enhances how incredibly slow these men's pace is, creating the impression that how little strength and stamina that they have left. Moreover, it portrays that it takes a lot of effort for them to move. Another reason why Owen uses onomatopoeia is to illustrate shocking and disturbing circumstances such as "gargling". From this word visual elements have been established in that the use of sound evokes emotions more. The line followed by gargling is very traumatic in that it shows how war put people through pain and suffering they should not have to endure. Further more, Owens choice of personification. When describing the 'Five-Nines' being 'tired' it gives the impression that Owen thins the war is pointless and has been going on for so long that even the shells have become wary of the useless misfortune. ...read more.


and "fumbling" (a mistake) is ironic because ecstasy is normally associated with the impression of extreme joy however, the poem is rather unpleasant. Lastly, Owens use of imagery, Owen utilizes words with negative connotations in order to give the reader a feeling of unease. Words such as "sludge," "guttering," "froth-corrupted," "vile," all have negative connotations. By choosing such words Owen condemns his poem to be sorrowful. This is because Owen see's war to be sorrowful, ugly and sad which no one should endeavor. Additionally, Owen describes certain events, such as death, very graphically that it evokes such emotions so as to cause people to become sick. For example, when describing the physical appearance of a soldier, "Watch the white eyes writhing in his face" the use of alliteration suggests how grotesque the scenario is. Also the image that follows this "His face hanging like a devil's sick of sin," creates a frightful image of man, whose face has been transformed from a young youthful face to a very old aged face which is rather revolting. In conclusion, Owens selection of vivid language and imagery as well as compelling metaphors and similes gives the reader the exact feeling that Owen wanted, which was to show how terrible and devastating war is. ...read more.

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