Dulce Et Decorum Est
Dulce Et Decorum Est is a very sad poem about war, in contrast to the title itself. The poet Owen, who himself have experienced war, describes the dreadful meanings behind all the glory people bask in. His purpose for writing this poem is to discourage war, and has achieved it though using many poetic techniques. He despised the idea of war, the suffering it causes and the unnecessary casualties experienced.
Owen has describe the impacts that war has of soldiers, the tired and weary tone used throughout was to represent the soldiers during war as they fight and travel with every ounce of energy and life they have remaining. For example he uses similes such as ‘Bent double, like old beggars’ this does not only give us a visual of the soldiers, but also undignifies them. This image completely contradicts the image of a soldier, which is usually associated with young, strong, fit and lively. Another technique is alliteration ‘knock-kneed’ this shows the tempo, the utter exhaustion and the excruciating agony the soldiers are going through, the two words also seem to have an echoing quality, which adds to the rhythm.
“Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!” was at the beginning of the second stanza when Owen immediately entices the reader with the repetition of a frantic cry almost instantly changing the tone from the previous stanza, which is dreary and depressing into a panic and frenzy tone. There is also a use of irony in the where Owen uses the term ‘ecstasy’ which means to be in a state of delight, joy or bliss; but the poet uses this term to describe a bunch of soldiers being attack by a gas bomb! The sarcasm he tone he used throughout the poem was to show how he thought war was such a waste.
The line “in all my dreams, before my helpless sight” is probably related to the previous stanza, where Owen is talking about how the sight of one of his comrades dying has been haunting and