Dulce et Decorum est: Reaction to Poem

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Y180 – TMA 01.

Task 1

Question 1

a) Describe what effects the poem has on you

b) Say what you think the subject matter is.

Use no more than 100 words in your answer to Question 1.

a) I really liked this poem; I thought it was very vivid and memorable. It made me feel angry and sad for the soldiers that died and for the suffering of the other soldiers, their injuries, their trauma and the conditions they had to endure. My daughter also read this poem and it affected her in a similar way; it made her feel sad, angry and ashamed for the things that happened. (71)

b) I think this poem is protesting about the war and all its horrors, giving an account of the war, and warning against the glorification of war. (26)

Question 2

Looking at the first 8 lines of the poem:

a) Identify and list in note form three of the techniques used in the poem.

b) Comment in complete sentences on what the effects of the three techniques you have identified might be.

Use no more than 150 words in your answer to Question 2.

a) (i) Rhyme pattern – every line-end rhymes in an alternating pattern.

(ii) Similes – Line 1. “Like old beggars under sacks,”

(iii) Alliteration – Line 5. ‘Men marched asleep’. (24)

b) The rhyme pattern gives the poem order and structure, making it easier to read, and more memorable. Having each line rhyming alternatively places emphasis on the end of each line, which helps you to read the poem, remember it, and make sense of it. The use of similes in this poem helps describe what the poet wants you to see. For example, in verse 1, line 1, the words ‘bent double, like old beggars under sacks,’ gives you the image of the men bent double, but the simile, ‘like old beggars under sacks’ provides emphasis for a stronger image. The use of alliteration as a poetic repetition of the first letters of certain words helps to evoke the images the speaker wishes to convey. (125)

Question 3

Looking at the whole poem again:

a) In no more than three sentences, give your interpretation of the meaning or meanings of the poem.

b) In no more than two sentences explain how the context helped you to understand the poem.

c) In continuous prose (that is, in paragraph form rather than bulleted points or notes), write an account of this poem, showing how the techniques used create the effects that lead to your interpretation of the meaning of the poem.

Use no more than 500 words in your answer.

a) In my opinion the poem is a protest against war. It is also a historical account of the horror of war and the conditions and the trauma suffered. I also think it is a warning against the glorification of war.

b) I discovered from O’Day et al. (2011), and from Sampson, A. (2009), that Wilfred Owen wrote his poetry during the WW1, whilst serving as a soldier in the trenches of France and Belgium, which helped me to place this poem into context. It helped to understand what some of the words and imagery meant, and alluded to, and appreciate the subject matter that Owen was writing about.


I interpreted this poem to be a protest about the WW1, a historical account of its atrocities, the deaths and trauma suffered; also as a warning against the glorification of war. I would like to discuss how I arrived at these conclusions.

Firstly, I read through the poem and listened to the Making Sense of the Arts DVD, several times, with my daughter. We made notes about the effects, techniques and meaning of the poem and compared them. We both felt the poem was powerful, thought provoking, highly descriptive and evocative. I liked the poem, although it did make me

feel angry, horrified and sad. My daughter loved this poem, but it made her feel angry, sad and ashamed. Some of the techniques used, such as imagery, throughout the poem, really portray the horrors and atrocities of the war. In particular, his description of the...
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