Dulce et Decorum Est
In the Wilfred Owen's poem Dulce et Decorum est a memorable gas attack that occurred during his experiences while on duty is recalled. The writer pushes the deconstruction of the nobility and respectfulness of war. This is done through the use of vivid imagery, irregular structure to emphasise mood shifts and the chaos of war; and subjective diction used with the express purpose of involving the reader into the account of the horrors of war.
The poem begins with a stanza that consists of seven lines that begin with the word “old beggars”(1 Owens). This immediately brings the image of beggars to mind and through this the image of soldiers is tarnished because beggars evoke the feeling of sorrow and compassion, as intended by Owen´s poem. Then, in the next line, the poet again uses diction as the word “hag”(2) for the same purpose. The soldiers are matching “[turning] [their] backs”(2) towards the “flares” that lit the battle field. The men “marched asleep”(5). These two images are used for implanting the mood of this stanza being solemn and slow. This would serve the functions of drawing in the reader into the poem but its relevance is only in contrast to the next three verses.
It is important for Owen to do this because it sets up the rest of his poem to be more impacting than the introductory stanza.
Secondly, next stanza is a rapid change of pace in the poem and switches the mood of the poem into urgency and panic. The repetition of “Gas! Gas!”(9) and the mention third word “quick” do this in the first line of the poem. “Just in time” they managed to get their gas masks on. Then, a death depicted in vivid imagery. From lines 9 to 14 a vivid death is depicted violently as a fellow soldier of the speaker dies “drowning”(14). Here Owens use of imagery provides with a clear vision of the events that transpired that day and after such a solemn and slow first stanza this death is more significant than it would have been if it...
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