Dulce Et Decorum Est - Wilfred Owen Analysis

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The opening stanza is characterised by language about 'fatigue': the soldiers 'marched asleep', they 'trudge', and 'limped on'. They are 'deaf', 'lame' and 'blind'; all rather pitiful language intended to reveal the reality of war and its effects. The speaker describes a vision in a dream of a gas victim 'guttering, choking, drowning'. The listed verbs are associated with a lack of air and death. The language used in the sections depicting the gas attack is strong, representing both the anguish of the victims of the gas attack as well as the effect on those haunted by what they have seen: 'watch the white eyes writhing in his face, / His hanging face'. The repetition of the word 'face' makes it clear which element disturbs the speaker most: the transformation in the face of the victim. The use of alliteration on the 'w' sound reflects the agonised twisting of the gas victim. The poem describes a gas attack on a trench in World War One. The poem reveals to the reader the terrible consequences of a gas attack: 'the blood / Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs'. It also presents the unglamorous reality of trench life, with the soldiers described as being 'like old beggars'. The Latin used at the end of the poem means 'It is sweet and honourable to die for your country', a concept Owen is strongly denying. * War transforms soldiers, breaking them physically and mentally: 'Bent double' 'Knock-kneed'. Rather than glorious men, Owen presents the soldiers as weakened old 'hags'. * The experience of war is something no soldier can escape: 'In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, / He plunges at me'. * The effect of gas used in World War One is communicated to the reader through Owen's use of verbs linked to death by a lack of oxygen: 'guttering, choking, drowning', 'smothering'. * Owen offers the reader very graphic imagery associated with suffering, aiming to present the truth about the war experience, arguably arising from his first-hand...
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