Explication of “Dulce et Decorum Est”
By: Wilfred Owen
Dulce et Decorum Est is a poem written by Wilfred Owen that uses powerful imagery to express an important message. A message that war is not glorious and noble and should not be portrayed this way. The speaker is a soldier in the army who describes the true horrors of the war and how young men believed it was an honor to die for your country. The poem is written in a simple regular rhyme scheme. Owen uses graphic imagery to show what the war was like. The similes and metaphors he uses give you a clear picture to describe the ugliness of the war. The tone is very harsh and he speaks very direct. He uses words that will shock you and leave you with a sick feeling. In the first stanza, the first two lines of the poem are, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks/Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge”. This represents the men bent over carrying their belongings through the mud. They are being compared to as old beggars & hags, (miserable ugly old women). However, these men were young. In the third and forth lines, “Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs/And towards our distant rest began to trudge”, represents the tired soldiers heading back to camp. In the fifth and six lines, “Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots/But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;” this shows how tired the men were as if they were marching in their sleep. Many have lost their boots and their feet are bleeding. In the seventh and eighth line, “Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots/Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.” This shows that the soldiers are so tired and can’t get away from the explosives that are falling behind them. In the second stanza, the first two lines of the poem are, “Gas! GAS! Quick boys!-An ecstasy of fumbling,/Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;.” These lines reveal that their enemies have released toxic gas into the air to...
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