How Does “Dulce Et Decorum Est” Undermine the Idea That War Is Glorious

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Dulce Et decorum Est is a poem written by Wilfred Owen, which undermines the idea that war if glorious by showing the horrific imagery and condemnation of war. The poems versions of reality creates a sharp and deeply ironic line between the civilians who prop up war efforts and the men who fight their battles; only those who have experienced war first hand can understand the trauma of losing a soldier or friend . It shows that dying for your country seems a lot less worthwhile than the trumped-up truisms of old patriotic battles cries imply. This can be seen from the title of the poem, “Dulce Et Decorum Est” which means it is sweet and ‘right to die for your country. Finally, it shows the physical pain and hardship that the soldiers has been through; ‘war is so painful that it becomes surreal’. Therefore the poem, “Dulce et decorum Est” shows that war is glorious, by using three effective themes; Patriotism, Versions of reality, and suffering.

The title of the poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est,” which translated means, “it is sweet and honourable to die for the fatherland,” gives a false impression to all soldiers, which is patriotism, as it gave the image that war is glorious, although it was not. The lines “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest, to children ardent for some desperate glory,” gives the effect that young men need to enrol in the armed forces, the “zest” for patriotism and glory is undercut by all the horrors that occur earlier in the poem. Also, Owen’s choice of the diction “children,” points out to the audience that young, innocent boys will be lost forever. As well as this, the use of stark sound devices, such as the repetitive use of harsh consonants like ‘g’, ‘k’, and ‘d’ in the quotes “guttering, choking, drowning” allows the audience to feel as though we are experiencing the way ourselves and by the end of the poem we feel emotionally drained, and feel empathy for the soldiers, who have been tricked into thinking war is glorious....
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