Dulce Et Decorum Est

Topics: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, Poetry, World War II Pages: 7 (2365 words) Published: May 3, 2010
“Anyone, who truly wants to go to war, has never really been there before” Kosovar. This not so famous quote, tells about how blind people were to the horrors and tribulations of war due to a force we call propaganda. “Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori” is a controversial phrase used to describe the benefits of going to war. It has different translations but it basically states “it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”, this is just one of the many techniques a nation could use to shade the soldiers to the harsh reality of war. In this essay I will be evaluating two poems Dulce et Decorum est and The Charge of the Light Brigade. “Dulce et Decorum” est is a poem about war written by Wilfred Owen during World War 1 in 1917-1918. He was a soldier who experienced war first hand and wrote his poem with primary information. “The Charge of The Light Brigade” is also a poem about war that was written by Alfred Lord Tennyson, a poet Laureate during the 19th Century. Tennyson uses secondary information to write his poem. Both poems have a direct link to the quote but both have different perspectives of if it really is sweet and fitting to die for ones country. Within the evaluation of the poems I will be analysing Language, Form and Structure, Themes and Context for each poem and at the end I will sum up the main differences and similarities between the two poems.

“Dulce et Decorum est”
In the poem Wilfred Owen uses similes to portray the soldiers as weary, lesser beings that have aged prematurely. “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knock-kneed, coughing like hags.” The similes comparing the soldiers to “beggars” and “hags” already wipes away the thought of soldiers’ being young, strong, healthy, able bodied men. The words “knock-kneed” and “coughing” tells us that war is physically demeaning. Owen already starts to show the reality of war. This phrase also tells us about how young men could be transformed into old people. An alternative connotation may not mean that they were old physically but the phrase “old beggar” sounds like they have been scarred with the experience of seeing a comrade die, that is what has aged them.

Owen tells the reader that the men haven’t taken a break from war making them exhausted. The following phrases suggest this: “And towards our distant rest began to trudge”
“Men marched asleep”
“Drunk with fatigue”
The first quotation literally tells us that the soldiers haven’t rested in a long time “Distant rest”. From another perspective distant rest may mean the soldiers are going towards inevitable death. The second “men marched asleep” are two words that contradict; marching is supposed to be full of energy and drive but modifying the meaning with the oxymoron makes it easier to understand how tired they were. Another connotation portrays the phrase as the man just doing an endless routine, in the sense that if you are used to something you could do it asleep. Although, “men marched asleep” could indicate self realisation. This suggestion comes on the basis of the title “Dulce et Decorum Est”, the initial phrase tells that the energy that was proclaimed about war was never there and that they are realising the truth. The third quotation “Drunk with fatigue” carries on emphasising the fact that they are tired. This has some depth because by saying the soldiers were “drunk” with it tells us that they have had to much as with alcohol that can make you drunk if you have had too much. Wilfred Owens use of rhyme depicts the atmosphere of war as slow and unenthusiastic. “Sludge”, “Trudge”

The rhyme creates a slow rhythm this may mean that Owen is trying to tell us that war is not energetic also the word “Trudge” suggests the slow pace of the soldiers, this slow pace is a key factor in creating the atmosphere of war. Owen shows the reader that war can be unpredictable and dangerous. “Gas! Gas!...
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