Poetry often acts on the ear before it acts on the mind. Wilfred Owen’s poem Dulce et decorum est evidently conveys this message. He utilises techniques like sound to deliberately enhance the imagery of the poem to make it appear more realistic. The overall moral of this poem that he has conveyed through Dulce et decorum est is that it is a lie when people tell the old saying “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” connoting that “it is sweet and fitting to die for ones native land”. He establishes this idea through sound to enhance his poem for the reader so they can imagine themselves being in the same experience as him.
Owen displays through sound how tired and fed up the soldiers in war were. The quote, “knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge” demonstrates how exhausted and fed up they felt. They were ‘coughing like hags’ indicating of how unhealthy they must have been and how polluted the air is from smoke and bad gases. The quote ‘we cursed through sludge’ shows how mad, sick and frustrated with war they must have been. Owen utilises sounds like ‘coughing’ and ‘cursing’ to imply how unhappy they were. He’s used these sounds purposely to enhance the reader’s image of this moment conveying that poetry acts of the ear before it acts on the mind.
Owen has portrayed the image of how ‘empty and lifeless’ they must be feeling through the quote, “On the haunting flares we turned our backs”. Owen hints how daunting it is to hear the loud and frightening flares to go off continually, so often that they no longer cared that those flares were going off, they just ‘turned their backs.’ He uses the sound of the haunting flares to show the reader his own experiences. This quote makes one imagine how loud those flares must be, that even grown men find them frightening. He also creates a war torn atmosphere through the use of sound. Owen has demonstrated this notion through sound to show that techniques are intentionally used to show that poetry...
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