Wilfred Owen’s poem is settled in the battlefield of World War I. It features a group of soldiers who seem to be returning to camp after a long day at war. Some of these men had lost their boots and other articles of clothing. When all of a sudden gas shells drop near them and they all went to put on their gas masks in fear of dying from the gas. The narrator thought everyone had got their masks on, but then he still heard one of his friends yelling and screaming in agony. He watched a member of his crew die from these gas shells and he could do nothing about it. Then the narrator goes forward in time, sometime after he has returned from war, and he cannot get the image of his friend dying out of his head. He always thinks about that night and he even dreams about his comrade’s deaths. He also speaks of the people coming home that are desperate for glory as the return home from this war.
Throughout this poem there are many things about it that allows the poem to be so successful. The word choice that Wilfred Owen chose to use in “Dulce et Decorum Est,” really set a mood and gave great imagery, which led for the success of the poem. The structure that Wilfred Owen used for “Dulce et Decorum Est” is another factor that helped the poem become very successful. These aspects of Dulce et Decorum Est really allow Wilfred Owen’s poem to be seen as a very successful poem.
Wilfred Owen’s word choice throughout “Dulce et Decorum Est” set this poem up for success. Wilfred Owen’s superb description in “Dulce et Decorum Est” allows the reader to get an image in their head that helps them understand the poem even more. Throughout “Dulce et Decorum Est,” Wilfred Owen shocks the reader with his description of the events that are happening. For example, “ Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge.” This puts the image of tired soldiers marching through some sort of nasty, muddy area after being out fighting in war. Also, his word choice is different from other poems because of the gruesome details he uses in “Dulce et Decorum Est.” This is different because a lot of poems do not use the detail he does to express this terrible war. For example, “And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. This is saying that the gas is a terrible death, like being set on fire, he does not get any air to your lungs, only gas, as if the soldier was drowning in water. Wilfred Owen’s word choice and description in “Dulce et Decorum Est” are huge factors on why the poem is such a success.
The structure that Wilfred Owen used for “Dulce et Decorum Est” push the poem in the right direction to become a success. The style Wilfred Owen wrote in for "Dulce et Decorum Est" is similar to the French ballade poetic form. By using a similar style like the French ballade poetic form and then breaking the conventions of pattern and rhyming, Owens makes the reader notice the deranged and disruptive events being told in the poem. Owen breaks the poem into two different parts, each consisting of fourteen lines. In the first part of the “Dulce et Decorum Est”, Owens writes it in the present as all of the action of this event happens and him and his crew are reacting to the gas shells going off around them. In second par of the poem, Owens writes it in the future of the event that. The second part looks back to draw a lesson from what happened at the start. The two fourteen line parts of “Dulce et Decorum Est” again shows a formal poetic style, but it is a broken and unsettling version of this form. The structure Wilfred Owen chose gave this poem a different look at a formal poetic style and is what made this poem successful.
There are many things that can make a poem a great and successful poem. The many things that Wilfred Owen did with “Dulce et Decorum Est” to make the poem what it is today is really amazing. The word choice Owen’s used to show detail allowed readers to get an image of the horrible event that happen to the soldier and his crew. The broken structure of the French ballade form that Owen’s used with this poem set put it to the level of success the poem has reached. These things that Wilfred Owens did with this piece of work shows how to make a successful poem.