Owen's Dulce et Decorum est: Horrific and Outrageous Circumstances of the Soldiers

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"Dulce et decorum est" Rachel Moran

"Dulce et decorum est" is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I and I am going to convey how the poet captures the horrific and outrageous circumstances the soldiers had to suffer.

This poem describes the horrendous situations the exhausted soldiers had to go through, from in the trenches to gas attacks. Owens aim of the poem is to argue the saying ‘Dulce et decorum est' and to show the reader the reality of World War I, he makes this clear in the last stanza.

The poet shocks us in the first few lines of the poem by his disturbing use of imagery and word choice. This is portrayed in the words: "Men marched asleep". This shows that the soldiers were doing everything in routine and didn't need to think about anything. Also it is comparing the men to zombies as they are "marching asleep", as if working in the army has been so tough on them, they are now marching with no soul or sense of spirit. A phrase which illustrates their misery further: "coughing like hags". These lines additionally describe how horrific this situation really is. "Coughing" suggests that the air was in bad condition, probably due to the shells and pollution. It also indicates that the men were struggling to breathe or they may have ill health from all the rats crawling around carrying diseases. Owen compares the young, fit men to old "hags". This is shocking as it gives the reader an idea of vulnerability and weaknesses. When you hear soldiers, you get an automatic impression that they would be full of energy and powerful, which is ironic because of the supposed strength we affiliate with soldiers. I found that the effective use of imagery and word choice created a disturbing and shocking image of how obscene this situation really is.

The tone changes dramatically in the second stanza when the soldiers suddenly come under a gas attack and Owen effectively conveys the confusion and distress of their plight. Owen uses...
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