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How does Wilfred Owen use language in "Dulce et Decorum Est"?

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Introduction

Introduction ?Dulce et Decorum Est?, describes the soldiers? horrific trauma in World War1 with a bitter tone. The background of this poem is during World War 1 when the British soldiers were attacked by chlorine gas. In this poetry, one soldier was unable to get his mask on time and after suffering from the torturing gas, he unfortunately died. His excruciating death was portrayed with gruesome effects of the gas on him. This was part of his intention to indicate the grim reality with horror and futility of the war as he was convinced that the war seemed to be carrying on beyond the point of reason and kill too many innocent people. Which was why he wrote this poetry emphasizing on the irony of this situation. In the poem, he uses different rhythms and literary devices including dramatic descriptions and various images to show how the soldiers are not only physically, but also mentally devastated by exertions of battle. ...read more.

Middle

which makes the readers feel like they are in the scene and easily feel the anger and tiredness when they ?cursed through sludge?. The line ?towards our distant rest began to truge? suggests that the condition in the war is eluding them which made them ?Marched asleep?. ?distant rest? are very affective because it shows demonstrates their journey as unattainable journey. Not only the soldiers were exhausted and tired from the war, they were also injured. This demonstrated on the line ?But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind? convincing the readers how horribly twisted and distorted the soldier?s body had become. In addition, he also uses imagery to highlight how the war had mentally affected the soldiers in the line ? drunk like fatigue?. The use of metaphor in here is significant in here because the tiredness of the soldiers is compared to the effects of the alcohol, suggesting the men are lacking of coordination and unaware of the situation influenced by the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

The soldier is said to be ?drowning? as if the gas is drowning him in his lungs. He described his distressful feeling in ?in all my dreams, before my helpless sight? This line clearly emphasizes his irritation as he have to relive the experience in his dreams like a nightmare. Throughout the poem, Wilfred Owen had created a sense of injustice and anger towards the terrific conditions and events applied to the soldiers by using various kinds of literary devices including simile, metaphor, rhyme and alliteration. In order to convince the readers of horror of the war more effectively, he used words, which involves them in the situation by using the word ?you?. At the end of the poem, he ends with an ironic statement "The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." Which means the notion of it being ?sweet and fitting? to die in the war is untrue. This ending shows his true anger and bitterness towards the war. ...read more.

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