La Shaun Caesar
February 26, 2012
A Glorious, Honorable Lie
Honor. Glory. These two words alone are enough for young men to take the bloody plunge into battle without knowing the harsh reality about war. In "Dulce Et Decorum Est", Wilfred Owen, the narrator, defiantly exposes that honoring your country is not a glorious experience, but is a lingering nightmare. Men who march into war are usually portrayed as strong and robust heroes. They return home after a victory to be praised and honored for their courageous accomplishments, but this is just an illusion, meant to attract young men into the ruthless hands of death. War is not always magnificent, for many are honored from their grave sites after a horrific death. Those who make it back home haven’t mentally left the battlefield, they are traumatized from the physical and mental scars that will haunt them for days to come. Owen uses a great deal of imagery, forcing the reader to imagine the immense pain and suffering that takes place on the battlefield. He uses his personal experiences to inform young readers of the horrors of war and his resentment for “the old lie: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”, which has led the naïve to their demise. Owen begins with an effective simile, describing the weary condition of the soldiers. He describes them as “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knocked-kneed, coughing like old hags…” (Lines 1-2). He purposely contrasts the ideal image of a war hero, who is portrayed as upright and strong as they pounce into battle to show the true face of war. By exaggerating the young soldiers’ appearances, he conveys that they are exhausted and terrified rather than heroic and steadfast. It is also ironic how youthful men, who should be glorified for battling for their nation, resemble old crippled beggars, citizens in society who are looked down upon. Owen forces the reader to imagine the immense pain and suffering he watches his comrade endure on the battlefield. In...
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