Explore the Ways in which Wilfred Owen presents the horrors of war in ‘Dulce et Decorum est’
Wilfred Owen was a British soldier; he was a devout Christian and the war forced him to face a conflict between his Christian beliefs and his role as a soldier. Owen’s attitude to war is very clear as he believes that the old saying, Dulce et Decorum est, is a lie and those who have witnessed the horrors of war, will definitely not pass that message on to anyone. He also believes that the patriotic aspect of war does not exist when one comes face to face with the horrors of war. His poem expresses his thoughts on how the society glorifies the cruel reality of killing and dying in war. Owen’s attitude to war is conveyed through the dramatic use of imagery, metaphors, shifting rhythms, some Oxymoron’s and plosive language. By using these, he clearly states and convinces his audience of his theme, that war is terrible and horrific.
In the first verse, Owen uses alliteration, powerful figurative language and graphic imagery to create a sense of depression. He compares soldiers to beggars and uses harsh words to make the audience feel sympathetic towards the soldiers, “Bent double” “Knock-kneed” “coughing like hags” “cursed through sludge”, all convey this message. He describes the soldiers as if they were old and weak, rather than strong, courageous soldiers which everyone believes them to be. The use of imagery used in “drunk with fatigue” causes us to believe that the soldiers were more tired of war than is humanly possible. Similarly, the use of imagery in “haunting Owen is trying to show the impact on the soldiers, “flares” suggests that these thoughts are constant and they army are reminded of the horrible things they saw even long after they have left the battlefield. The pun "blood-shod" makes its effect on us slowly as this is a plosive word, which is very effective to the audience, because it helps us put ourselves in their shoes and imagine the horrors...
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