Poetry Analysis for Dulce et Decorum est

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Poetry Analysis for “Dulce et Decorum est”
The Title of this poem is “Dulce Et Decorum Est” which translated from latin means “it is sweet and right”. From this it can be deduced that the rest of the poem will talk about something that is “sweet and right”, perhaps honor. Yet just by glancing at the second line it is evident that the connotations behind the title are likely sarcastic, as there is nothing “sweet and right” about “cursing through the sludge”. The entire poem reads like a scene out of a horror movie, in which the soldiers in it are systematically being taken down by the most brutal gas attack. Instead of depicting the soldiers as patriotic heroes dying for a god cause, the poem highlights their suffering. Most importantly it highlights the pathetic conditions in which they “live”; and the way they’re humanity is stripped away from them. The very first stanza sets up the scene, in which men in catatonic states “trudge on” whilst “cursing through the sludge” despite the horrible conditions they are suffering. They are all “lame”, “blind”, and “drunk with fatigues”; so much so that they are “deaf” to the alarm sounds that might save their lives. Here we see a shift in tone; where before it was a melancholy pathetic picture, now it becomes a frantic terrorizing moment of confused panic. There are yells of “Gas, Quick, Boys”, The short, sharp commands adding to the sense of urgency. Meanwhile the “fumbling fitting of the clumsy helmets” adds a sense of frustrated hysteria to the tone of the poem. The tone shifts to one of horrifying detail of the one “boy” (not even a man) who does not get his mask on quickly enough and suffers the effects of the gas. The boy “floundering around like a man on fire”, with absolutely no way of ending his agony, “before my helpless sight” Once more the tone shifts, and this time the speaker makes it clear that these are images that haunt him in his sleep: “… I saw him drowning, in all my dreams”. Within a smothering...
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