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Dulce et Decorum Est and Futility the Poems of Wilfred Owen.

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Introduction

Dulce et Decorum Est and Futility. The Poems of Wilfred Owen (1893-1918). By Winifred Dalrymple Based on the poem of "Dulce et Decorum Est", by Wilfred Owen. Owens war poetry is a passionate expression of outrage at the horrors of war and of pity for the young soldiers sacrificed in it. It is "Dulce et Decorum Est" which provides a very dramatic and memorable description of the psychological and physical horrors that war brings about. From the first stanza Owen uses strong metaphors and similes to convey a strong warning. The first line describes the troops as being "like old beggars under sacks". This not only says that the men are tired but that they are so tired they have been brought down to the level of beggars. "Coughing like hags" suggests that these young men (many who were in their teens) were suffering from ill health due to the damp, sludge and fumes from the decaying bodies of their fallen men at arms, lying on their chests. It was also in the winter's of The Great War where the events that, Owen speaks of took place, so they would have been prone to pneumonias and other diseases. ...read more.

Middle

In the fourth stanza, it reads, " If in some smothering dreams you could pace/behind the wagon that the we flung him in", here Owen is suggesting that the horror of the scene that he has witnessed, is forever eternalised into his dreams. Although this soldier died an innocent, the war allowed no time to give his death dignity. That in turn makes the horror so much more poignant and haunting. Owen also describes what the young lad's face looks like "Devils sick of sin", this painfully illustrates how the life is ebbing away from him and that the skin is just hanging on his face. In the fifth and final stanza Owen makes a heroic and very public stand, by challenging the newspaper columnists, back home in England, that if they had seen the horrors that he had witnessed, then maybe, they would not be so quick impose their na�ve views of how good it is to die for "Ones country". This is echoed in the last three lines of the stanza "My old friend, you would not tell with such high zest/To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et decorum Est Pro patria mori. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the first stanza, Owens use of assonance such as 'whispering' and 'sleep' demonstrates sounds that give the poem a quiet tone as if the reader is whispering; there are no pleas to the lord or anyone else for that matter. Also, the lack of physical and horrific visualisation only proves to make the poem more intensely psychologically emotional with the idea of a catatonic patient with no true hope of recovery. In the second stanza the tone changes to one of questioning hopelessness and of quiet resignation with the onset of death. Owen demonstrates this by asking the reader to think, "Think how it wakes the seeds- Woke, once, the clays of a cold star". Here the reader can see that the suggestion of clay as being cold and lifeless and that when the sun tries to warm clay, it in fact bakes it hard. In lines 3, 4 and 5, "Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides, Full-nerved - warm-to hard too hard to stir? Was it for this the clay grew tall?" the reader can begin to ask the age old questions, "why?" and "Are we here for just this reason, too die for the sake of pointless wars that occur through mans own greed of power? ...read more.

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