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How does the style and content of 'Dulce et Decorum Est', by Wilfred Owen, arouse the readers' sympathies over the horrors of WWI?

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  • Essay length: 849 words
  • Submitted: 09/12/2009
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AS and A Level General Studies

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The poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen is about how the horrors of World War I affected the young, innocent soldiers that were fighting for their country. Both the style and the content help to arouse the readers' sympathy for a young man whose death is described in the poem.

In the first stanza Owen describes the terrible physical and mental state that the war has put these men in: "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks." This simile compares the men to old beggars, making the reader imagine them to be wrinkled, grey-skinned, thin and unhealthy looking, because that is what beggars often look like. This is effective because soldiers are usually young, fit men. By comparing them to beggars the poet helps us to understand just how badly the war has aged them and encourages us to pity them because they should not look so old until much later in their lives. Leading on from this, Owen tells us that the men were "Drunk with fatigue." This metaphor compares the men's state of pure exhaustion to the feeling of being drunk, so we imagine the men being unsteady on their feet and unfocused in

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