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Dulce et Decorum Est

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Introduction

How does Owen try in 'Dulce et Decorum est' to convince the reader that war is evil? As soon as I read 'Dulce et Decorum est' by Wilfred Owen I immediately understood it was a vividly described poem which stirs disgust for war through the use of striking similes, graphic imagery and compelling metaphors. The poem is directed at Jessie Pope, a civilian propagandist, who promoted war. Owen wanted to counteract her and others, enthusiasm for war. Pope's poem 'Who's for the game' gave young men false impressions of war whereas Owens' 'Dulce et Decorum est' showed the readers the true and grim realities of war. In the first fourteen lines of the poem's twenty eight, Owen distinctly describes a single and horrific moment in time. The last fourteen lines deal with the reader directly, explaining the significance of the incident. The speaker is amongst a group of worn out soldiers, who after a spell at the front, are striding precariously towards safety when they are unexpectedly attacked by chlorine gas. ...read more.

Middle

The second stanza is opened with 'Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!' The punctuation here mirrors the panic of men experiencing a sudden gas attack. Also, by making the words disjointed and monosyllabic, Owen highlights the fear and the helplessness of the situation. Owen then goes on to use a transferred epithet in 'Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time....' The transferred epithet, 'clumsy helmets', shows to the readers that it is not actually the helmets that are clumsy but the men because they are trying there hardest to fit their helmets in time therefore being very clumsy. Owen fits his helmet in time but looks 'through the misty panes' and sees someone 'drowning' in the chlorine gas. 'As under a green sea, I saw him drowning' introduces the first person narrative voice to the poem which brings immediacy to the poem and illustrates Owens firsthand experience of the war. The single two lines following the second stanza are placed own their own for emphasis which highlight the horror; it is so bad, almost unreal. ...read more.

Conclusion

A sarcastic tone is adopted when Owen refers to Jessie Pope (the key audience of this poem) as his 'friend'. Their views and opinions are completely different. Pope is told by Owen that she would 'not tell with such high zest/ The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori' After all the gruesome images Owen saw throughout the war he couldn't understand why anybody would tell their children 'ardent for some desperate glory' to go and participate in war. In conclusion, I feel that Owen was successful in convincing readers that war was evil through his use of horrifying imagery. The imagery is associated with suffering, which aims to depict the truth about war experience. I can, after reading this poem, imagine what war was like in the trenches because of Owens use of various poetic techniques which help to convey exactly what he thought about war. I feel I have no option but to agree with Owen that war is evil because I cannot imagine how, after reading a soldier's poem that experienced war first hand, war can be exalted for. ?? ?? ?? ?? Darren Thomson ...read more.

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