Commentary on Wilfred Owen's "Dulce Et Decorum Est"

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In this commentary, we will take a deep look into this poem that Wilfred Owen wrote. In the poem, a group of soldiers are described, and their emotions. Using three guiding questions, this will be an introduction into the way Owen writes his poems. Answering these guiding questions will give the reader the full package that the poem has to offer.

The first guiding question that is to be answered is: How are the feelings amongst the soldiers described? First of all, one can say the soldiers all feel as if they were torn apart. This is notable in the way the soldiers ‘cursed through sludge’, and how the ‘men marched asleep’. Despite their fatigue, the group of men still have a strong bond, as they did not think only of themselves while shouting ‘gas! GAS! Quick, boys!’. This explains they are prepared to share their senses, and not keep them to themselves only. The bond between the soldiers is also notable when they all watch their mate slowly die, while they can do nothing about it. The way the soldier feels while seeing his friend’s death, makes him (and probably his mates) feel that dying for their country, and seeing others die, isn’t all that honourable.

The second aspect of the poem that needs to be looked at is the atmosphere that the writer calls up. This atmosphere can be described as a dynamic one. It goes from the gray and darker mood to a fast-paced one, while ending in the depressing situation of a friend’s death. The gray and dark atmosphere is found in the way the soldiers ‘limped on, blood-shod’ through the land. The group was ‘drunk with fatigue,’ and didn’t have the energy to walk in a faster pace. In line 9 however, the mood shifts as the ‘green sea’ of gas approaches the soldiers. Described as an ‘ecstasy,’ the men fought against the time and put on their helmets as soon as possible, to avoid death. The poem starts it’s depressing atmosphere in line 15, where the soldiers behold the death of their friend. They want to do anything to save...
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