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Describe an important theme and why it was important in 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen.

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Describe an important theme and why it was important. In 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen an important theme that interested me was the lie. That it is not glorious and it is not "sweet and honourable to die for your country." Through the use of vivid figurative language and effective poetic techniques such as rhyme, rhythm and alliteration Owen conveys a memorable experience creating horrific graphic imagery which develops his anti war theme. Through the use of personal pronouns, Owens expresses his own experience, detailing how the soldiers were mislead into believing fighting for your country was rewarding. ...read more.


This image of strong and repetitive steps is contradicted by the use of alliteration on the deep 'M' sound. "Men marched asleep." The message of strength is contradicted by the lack of rhythm. This indicates confusion, tiredness and portrays the soldiers as being defeated. Flash backs remind the soldiers of the horrible, disgusting duties they were forced to cope with and the irresistible urge to escape. Words like drowning, guttering and choking show the on-going trauma the soldiers were put through and the waste of human life, only to consolidate the lie.In 'The Dam' by Patric Dickinson the opening line contains the personal pronoun 'our' showing like Dulce Et Decorum Est the poem is written from a personal point of view. ...read more.


"Our vally till they came." Our, showing ownership, while the simple language conveys the strong point of the loss of ownership. All the villagers came together. "Everyone worked on it." It was a source of income. "Good jobs; they were too well paid." Although they were paid well, the real cost of it was their homes. In both poems the theme about the lie interested me as it can be clearly seen. In Dulce Et Decorum Est, the soldiers believe it is honourable to fight for your country, although Owen shows how disgusting wart really is, proving what they were led to believe was a lie. The same idea in The Dam about a lie is expressed. When the villagers were led to believe a dam would be profitable when in reality it was a lie. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This question asks it's candidates to identify an important theme in Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est'. Any candidate hoping to answer this question without recognising Owen as one of history's most prolific anti-war poets, or that the main themes ...

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Response to the question

This question asks it's candidates to identify an important theme in Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est'. Any candidate hoping to answer this question without recognising Owen as one of history's most prolific anti-war poets, or that the main themes in 'Dulce et Decorum est' are the Pity of War and "that great lie", will probably do very badly. Thankfully, though, this candidate has considered the fact that Owen was so against the great lie ("Dulce et Decorum est pro Patria mori") as the important theme and has retained a good level of focus on the question, with an average quality answer.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here is what is to be expected of a student in a 1-hour exam on the important themes of this poem. The comments on Owen's use of personification, imagery and poetic devices to instil the disgraceful living conditions and treatment of soldiers in WWI are entirely valid, though some aren't fully explained and don't draw on enough examples or get explained to the best they can be. "Then Owen goes onto describe the flares as haunting to the soldiers. This suggests that they are sick of war and despise the constant reminders of it." - this poor explanation suggests that the candidate does not really know what to say, and this is because they have approached the poem from the start and mean to analyse it line by line till the end. Candidates will do better and save a great deal of time if they hone in on one specific point that makes the theme of the great lie important such as phonetics (sibilance/assonance/etc.) or the use of metaphors, or the structure of the poems, and then speak at length about each point, rather than trying to analyse every line and end up speaking about belittling imagery in line 1 and then again in line 21, for example.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication here is acceptable. There are a few inconsistencies and errors made, and the sentence structure can prove clunky at times because of a misuse of commas. But all in all this essay is still very readable.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 22/02/2012

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