Wilfred Owen – Dulce et Decorum Est
Dulce et Decorum Est – Part of a phrase from Horace, quoted in full in the last lines “It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country” Qn: Note all the similes in this poem. What patterns do you see here? What do the similes individually and collectively contribute to the poem, especially in terms of undermining the “lie” to which Owen alludes? Title
As we begin to peruse the title, we get the initial impression that the contents of the poem are related to patriotism, honor and dying for one’s country. However, as the poem progresses, we begin to visualize what the speaker intends to convey, which is essentially the horrors of war. Thesis
This poem encompasses the idea that war is filled with death and horror. However, soldiers neglect the process and focus on the ending, which is the decoration of rank and honor. Hence, we sense the dichotomy of the first hand perspectives of actually being on the battlefield and that of a higher order and rank, possibly the government, whereby they do not actually experience and see the bloodshed that happens. The government props up war efforts with war posters as examples of gallantry, influencing soldiers to enter the conflict unprepared. Content
We begin to observe that there is a usage of similes right from the first line. It informs the reader that in battle, disease plagues through camps, and natural elements like sludge hinder the movements of soldiers. We are also able to infer that the speaker’s platoon is moving slowly through diction such as “trudged and limped”. With the fast pace of events, soldiers are also psychologically affected. Tiredness starts to set in among the soldiers. Physical impairment is also common sight on the battlefield when medical aid is not readily available. Throughout the first stanza, we get the impression that the speaker is on the retreat and is in a losing battle. This is further substantiated with the personification of the shells that...
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