The significance of imagery and vocabulary in 'Disabled' and 'Dulce et Decorum est' by Wilfred Owen

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‘Disabled’ and ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ are war poems by the poet Wilfred Owen. Imagery and vocabulary in both of these poems are significant in representing mood, atmosphere and purpose. By using metaphors, similies and other forms of creating imagery, the poems are made accordingly emotive, and easier to comprehend as they enhance the readers interpretations by drawing on the readers senses.

        By analysing the poems we can see the evidence for this, and by imaging alternatives to particular phrases and words, we can see how the effect and meaning would be altered or at least lessened. ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ has high amounts of imagery and language in it, and it is a poem to shock to the shock the reader into a state of pity rather than a poem that demands pity.

        The first stanza begins with a metaphor and similie, which give an appalling portrait of men in a wretched condition, far from the youth and beauty that they should have. It immediately sets the scene in an atmosphere of shocking conditions. By comparing them with ‘old beggars under sacks’ we not only realise that the soldiers are fatigued and dishevelled, but also that they have suffered an experience that steals their age from them, and is severe enough to last them a lifetime of hardship both physically, as they are injured, and mentally.

        Merely by reading the first two lives, we are presented with an aged, decrepit, dark and coarse image, which continues with language such as ‘haunting’ and ‘trudge’ which particularly emphasise darkness, and a slow dragging tone. The use of ‘blood-shod’ helps you to imagine men dragging their bleeding feet through the wet mud. It is a dehumanising image, both physically and mentally. The hyperbole that comes next, ‘all went lame’ added to repetition of ‘all’ greatly expands the readers understanding that the whole army was united in this suffering, and that everyone was injured in some way or form. Considering that all are ‘lame’ and ‘blind’ it makes one wonder whether the poet is asking whether living was relevant at this point.

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        Owen focuses on suffering rather than death because the visualisation of living torment has a stronger effect on the mind.

        The reader imagines staggering, overexhausted men, so tired that all their senses are consumed, and this effect is achieved by the play of words in ‘drunk with fatigue’, it is the ‘drunk’ part that creates this image. Again Owen uses this play of words when he says ‘deaf even to the hoots of gas shells’, and this choice of words brings a more thought invoking edge to the poem than the event would have if explained directly.

        The juxtaposition of ...

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