Wilfred Owens poem Dulce et Decorum Est is a very powerful and moving war poem. It is a protest against all innocent lives lost in the war

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Wilfred Owen, Dulce et decorum Est.

In no more than 500 words, write an account of this poem in continuous prose, showing how the technique used creates the effect that led your interpretation of the meaning of the poem.

Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is a very powerful and moving war poem. It is a protest against all innocent lives lost in the war and also a protest against all the lies that are told about how glorious it is to die for your country.

Sarcasm and anger dominate the mood of the poem with descriptions of dreadful and undignified struggle of soldiers during WW1 and strong criticism of civilians who promote war effort. This effect is achieved throughout the poem with wide use of alliteration, imagery and emotive language. The poem can be viewed as a sonnet with 28 lines which follows the ABABCDCD rhyme scheme. ‘Dolce et Decorum Est’ contains 4 stanzas where the meter is mainly iambic pentameter, however there are some disruptions. For example in line 9, there are 11 syllables; the line starts with four consecutive stressed syllables ‘Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!’ Powerful words and exclamation marks draw our attention to the terrifying gas attack and panic the soldiers were facing.

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The first stanza of the poem gives us a clear and detailed picture about the state of soldiers walking from the battlefield. Owen uses imagery ‘like old beggar’, ‘coughing like hags’, ‘all went lame’ and ‘drunk with fatigue’ to give us a detailed picture about the horrific state of soldiers broken by the war. The poet compares the soldiers to blind, exhausted and coughing beggars which is a complete opposite to proud soldiers marching in their uniform. Using alliteration ‘knock-kneed’ and ‘man march asleep’, the poet wants the reader to consider the fragile physical and mental state of the ...

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