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How Does Owen Convey the Horror Of War To The Reader

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Louis Falgas 3eme 3 IGCSE Coursework How Does Owen Convey the Horror Of War To The Reader Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori. These lines are drawn from one of Horace's poems and mean that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. This is the image that people had of war before 1914. The shiny, bright uniforms; mounted men charging gloriously down to slay the enemy. Owen too had that vision of war, until he actually got there. His view changed dramatically after traumatic experiences: he was stuck in a shell hole for three days, and was then diagnosed with shell shock, a stress illness. When he was sent to hospital, he met the young poet Siegfried Sassoon, who influenced him in his poetry. It was then that he started to write anti-war and satirical poems. In Dulce et Decorum est, he shows the horrors of war, he forces us to watch the blood and death. ...read more.


The third stanza is like a pause. The first line is based on iambic pentameter, and gives a sense of slow heartbeats. Then the beats hasten, the sounds are cruder and the violent graphical images keep accumulating In the last stanza, Owen uses the rhythm very carefully. The first word "if" is emphasized because he inverses syllables, by doing that he calls out the reader, forcing him to watch and concentrate on the violent images. The last important rhythmic element is the hammering in the last four lines. It clearly shows his rebuke and disapproval of war. Owen uses in this poem very carefully chosen words and stylistic figures. Owen critics the dehumanisation of war, and pictures the poor soldiers struggling in this lunar-like landscape as old men who are "Bent double, like old beggars". This is reinforced of course by the double beat in "Bent Double". Owen also shocks the reader by exposing him to the soldiers fatigue and weariness, and thus completely destroys the romantic images of war. ...read more.


This pain should be endured by no man and yet Owen exposes us to it. The poet also shows bitterness in this poem and uses alliteration like "cancer, bitter as the cud" or "devil's sick of sin"(Here, Owen compares the victim's face to the devil, seeming corrupted and baneful.). The poet uses impressive metaphors to completely crush the image of glory in war. Metaphors such as "as under a green sea, I saw him drowning", create a sense of suffocation; it evokes for me an inferior form of life. The power of the poem could be summarised in its last lines. "The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." He uses a capital L to show that this particular lie is well established and acknowledged. Owen has a shocking visual power. He makes us reflect deeply on who we are and what we are capable of. The poem's power resides also in the message it delivers: War is not glorious. It was an innovative thought at the time, as Wilfred Owen said "All a poet can do is warn". ...read more.

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