How Does Wilfred Owen Present the Lives of Soldiers in a Time of Conflict and His Own Attitude to War in "Dulce Et Decorum Est"?

Topics: Poetry, World War I, World War II Pages: 3 (1255 words) Published: November 15, 2010
Throughout the duration of this essay I will look to answer the question written above, with the use of Point, Evidence and Explanation, in the subtopics of Interpretation, Structure, Language, Imagery and Personal Response. The poem talks of a gas attack upon an accumulation of soldiers who are fighting in World War I. He sarcastically states that it is ‘sweet and fitting to die for ones country’. Wilfred Owen thought completely different of this, however, and is complexly against the war. He uses very powerful, vivid descriptions, for example, the young soldiers being described as ‘aged by war’. For someone to ‘age’ in a matter of minutes, seconds even, is an astounding thing, most likely referring to the mentality of the soldiers, altered by the attack. On top of this, he says that the horrible conditions where the soldiers are accommodated has mentally ‘wounded’ them. Wounded is usually used when someone has been physically hurt, and in this context I think Owen is trying to emphasise the impact that it actually had. Owen is unlucky enough to witness a fellow soldier fail to put the gas masks that they had been equipped with on, and he can do nothing but bear witness to his horrific death. He talks down his death, saying he is flung in a wagon. The use of flung is not one you’d expect when talking about another human, but Owen does this deliberately to tell of how that soldier was one of many merely flung onto the wagon, and questions how people can think that is something that is acceptable. The man was not yet dead, but dieing, as Owen describes his ‘white eyes writhing in his face’ and a face hanging ‘like a devils sick of sin’. This is a significant reference to the devil. Someone who is thought to enjoy death, and things similar, but here Owen says that he is sick of it, the war has brought so much death, many excruciatingly painful as well. As a reader, it’s hard to not find ourselves asking the question how could we be so truculent of each other that...
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