Dulce Et Decorum Est

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Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen was written to convince his readers that war was not a playing field of honour and glory but a place of blood, death and nothing more.

The poem immediately begins ridiculing the idea of war through the application of irony by stating that war is sweet and glorious then presenting a poem that suggests the very obvious, causing the readers to consider their previous thoughts on the idea of the glory of war.

The first stanza begins by establishing an image of a battlefield with an all encompassing mood of fatigue. Similes such as “like old beggars under sacks” and “coughing like hags” allowed Owens to show that glorious soldiers were reduced to something inhuman though the course of battle which shocked the reader who was used to the patriotism of other poets. Further on, hyperbole -“Men marched asleep.”- and a strong metaphor -“Drunk with fatigue;”- is used to further strengthen the dehumanising fatigue that soldiers endured which showed the true nature of war.

The second stanza contrasts with the fatigue of the first with a frenzy of movement and increase in tempo evident in the first line. The direct voice and aggressive punctuation of “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!” creates the image of panic and fear as soldiers struggled to don gas masks. The last four lines are dedicated to the death of a comrade during the gas attack, and strong imagery and a metaphor is used to transform the previously fatigued battlefield into a thick mist of death, shown in “Dim, through he misty panes and thick green light,/As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.”. The colour green is also heavily present in the stanza, casting an unnatural light on the scene that would help readers visualise the horror of war. Scenes such as these reinforced Owens belief about war and showed his readers the repulsive nature of aspects from the war.

The final stanza moves away from the battlefield as Owen directly speaks to the reader about his experiences....
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