How far do you agree that Wilfred Owen's poem, "Dulce et Decorum est" is of central importance to the anthology?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 38
  • Published : January 5, 2014
Open Document
Text Preview
How far do you agree that “Dulce et Decorum est” is a poem of central importance in the Wilfred Owen anthology? In your answer you should make reference to two or three poems in detail or range more widely across the anthology. (45 marks). In consideration of the question in asking, it is seemingly important to first assess what defines a Wilfred Owen poem as being “important” in the context of the wider anthology. Perhaps, as an anti war poet, Owen would deem his most influential poem to be the most significant, and it is undeniable that “Dulce et Decorum est” is Owen’s most renown and famous piece of poetry. However it should also be worth noting that a poem of the “greatest importance” in the anthology would not only contain Owen’s most passionate themes and perceptions, but also reflect his experiences of war with the greatest potency. Dulce et Decorum est, the poem under scrutiny, opens with the immediacy of a march of some kind in which his comrades are reduced to “old beggars” and “hags.” This particular choice of diction instantly challenges the contemporary misconceptions of war as being a place of “glory” and “triumph,” but rather an inglorious and atrocious scene to be at one with. Additionally, Owen employs the kennings “Bent double,” “knock kneed” and “blood shod” to vividly evoke the genuine hardships and misery of trench warfare, coupled with a consistent ABAB rhyme scheme to concentrate the woes of warfare in a spondaic stanza which is broken by many caesuras. Interestingly, Owen also implies an imminent death for the soldiers in his cohort through the symbolism of the “distant rest” towards which the men must “trudge.” To this extent, the opening stanza alone not only capsulates the physical hardships of warfare which is common among “all” of the men who were “blind” and “lame,” but it also serves to challenge the predisposed “triumph” of a war which was indeed supposed t be “over by Christmas” as these soldiers are marching to what appears to...