Dulce Et Decorum Est

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Dulce et Decorum est, by Wilfred Owen.

War always brings to the world pain, sufferings and bitterness. War challenges existing conventions, morals and ideals of patriotism. There are many people touched by the terror of the war and have written pieces of literature about the war, wishing people would understand the horror and tragedy that befell those involved. "Dulce et Decorum est", by Wilfred Owen, is one such elegy that presents to the reader a vivid, horrifying description of World War 1, aiming to illustrate that war is not patriotic and heroic, not "good and fitting", but a senseless and devastating event. In this poem, techniques such as imagery, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia and contrast are used to express Owen's angry and bitter view towards what happened to the soldiers in the war.

"Dulce et Decorum Est" uses strong images to convey Owen's feelings about the war, and to force the reader to take his view. Ghastly pictures of the war occur throughout the poem. In the first stanza, we are presented with the lowly images of the soldiers:

"Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,"

The soldiers do not appear strong and steadfast but they are "bent double", moving very close to the ground "like beggars under sacks". This portrays the soldiers as old, exhausted, fatigued individuals with heavy burdens on their shoulders. They seem to have lost their purposes in life. War is always proclaimed as a chance to show your patriotism, "it is good and fitting to die for your country". But from the very first line, we are introduced to a pathetic and pitiful image of the soldiers, we know that the young men have lost their purposes in life. They are not "good and fitting" at all, but a stark contrast to the title of the poem. The use of alliteration in "knock-kneed" further confirms the extreme fatigue they are facing. The simile used in "coughing like hags" paints the soldiers as sick...
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