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Wilfred Owen's poem, "Dulce et Decorum est",

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Introduction

How do various elements of the work - plot, character, point of view, setting, tone, diction, images, symbol, and so on - reinforce its meanings? John Stuart Mill once said: "War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." War is done by trust in power; one cannot emphasize that enough. When one gives in to the wrath of the government in charge of producing such wars, it is the end for them, and the end for their families. It is the predominant virus that breaks apart humanity; it wiggles itself under the coats of governments and expands its dark forces upon innocent lives. ...read more.

Middle

He begins in the first stanza by placing himself with his mates in a situation such as: "bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, and towards our distant rest began to trudge..." (Owen 120) In doing so, he places himself in that position with other men that he knew, making it a more personal point of view. Owen continues by introducing the path of the struggling men walking back to the base after an interview with chaos. They are in the middle of a battle. "Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, but limped on, blood-shod, all went lame, all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots of gas-shells dropping softly behind..." (Owen 120) By using vivid imagery, it is as if Owen was placing obscene actions of war in a setting to where the consummation of evil is found: in fury. When he mentions the men limping with blood-shod feet, it is a dehumanizing image where the men, like horses, are physically and mentally crushed. ...read more.

Conclusion

By doing so, he brings in a more powerful image to the disturbance of evil. Also by using imagery that compares to the sickliest of things imaginable, he brings in a simile of: "his hanging face, like a devil's sick of sinning." (Owen 120) When is a devil sick of sinning? It is the ultimate irony that is placed within the setting of the poem. If evil is sick of doing what its best at, then the brutality of war would be too much for one to handle. In all, Wilfred Owen's poem, "Dulce et Decorum est", reinforces the truth of a death defying world battle by using different formal elements to reproduce the actual affects of war upon Owen himself. To believe in the old saying, "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" is to die for an unreasonable cause. There will be no day where one would be able to describe the visions that men have come so close to seeing, and developing those visions into a sugar-coded world for their families to hear. No father will tell their son to join the army after seeing so much pain, agony and frustration fill the lungs of the battling men. ...read more.

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