Dulce et decorum est
By Wilfred Owen
The language used in the poems depicting the gas attack is strong, representing both the anguish of the victims of the gas attack as well as the effect on those haunted by what they have seen: 'watch the white eyes writhing in his face, / His hanging face'. The repetition of the word 'face' makes it clear which element disturbs the speaker most: the transformation in the face of the victim. The use of alliteration on the 'w' sound reflects the agonised twisting of the gas victim. It is set in a war field where Wilfred Owen fought, here he witnessed an event that would stay with him for the rest of his life, and this is why he wrote a poem on it. Notes on Dulce et Decorum Est. DULCE ET DECORUM EST - the first words of a Latin saying (taken from an ode by Horace). The words were widely understood and often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean "It is sweet and right." The full saying ends the poem: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori - it is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is a wonderful and great honour to fight and die for your country. Five-Nine - 5.9 calibre explosive shells, Lime - a white chalky substance which can burn live tissue, Guttering - Owen probably meant flickering out like a candle or gurgling like water draining down a gutter, referring to the sounds in the throat of the choking man, or it might be a sound partly like stuttering and partly like gurgling, Cud - normally the regurgitated grass that cows chew usually green and bubbling. Here a similar looking material was issuing from the soldier's mouth, High zest - idealistic enthusiasm, keenly believing in the rightness of the idea
It is often contrasted with Wilfred Owens’s 1917 antiwar poem Dulce Et Decorum Est This poem is about dying in battle for your country. While Rupert Brooke never actually fought in battle, as he died getting there, he is still able to write what he...
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