21 November 2011
Dulce Et Decorum Est
“Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen is a war poem written to show the cruel reality of war. Owen uses his own experience of World War I in his poetry in order to depict the true horror of warfare. During the war, Owen was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital after suffering shell shock. He then wrote poetry as a way to cope with the horrific memories of the war. In the poem, Owen uses very personal memories and vivid imagery to try to convince others to stop enlisting and supporting the war.
Written whilst receiving treatment for shell shock in Craiglockart, “Dulce et Decorum Est” is a bitter response to Owen's first hand experience of war and an attack on propagandists, most particularly Jessie Pope, a writer who supported the war and encouraged men to fight. This poem was written at a time where men were praised for fighting for their country. If they died during battle, it was said that they died a heroic death. After seeing fellow soldiers die horrific deaths, Owen wrote “Dulce et Decorum Est” in hopes of changing young men’s minds about fighting. The poem can be divided into three sections: a description of soldiers leaving the battlefield, a mustard gas attack and a challenge thrown out to those who glorify war. From the very first line “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks” it is clear that “Dulce Et Decorum Est” is a very negatively toned poem. This is reinforced by other lines in the first stanza such as “All went lame; all blind” and “And towards our distant rest began to trudge”. This negative tone, which is brought about by the by the emotional language used (like “old” and “trudge”), creates a gloomy scene. “Dulce et Decorum est” is a satirical poem about a Latin saying meaning “how sweet and fitting it is”. Through this poem Owen tries to show readers this saying is a lie, and that war is not as glorious as many people make it out to be. The first...