Dulce et Decorum est and Futility
- Pages: 6
- Word count: 1480
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In both of these poems, there is a description of personal experiences that he had during the war. The experiences that Owen describes were terrible experiences. Owen feels that war is wrong and that it should not be happening. He describes what it is really like out there instead of the fantasies that people have about war. In “Dulce et Decorum Est”, he describes a gas bomb attack and how someone died because of it. At the start of the poem, he describes the predicament they are in after walking so far in sludge.
In “Futility”, Owen describes how a farmer dies from hypothermia, and how he thought of ways, that he could save him, but he knew that none of these ways would work because he was dead. This is a very sad poem and shows that he really hates war because of all the people who died because of it. He tries to describe what it feels like when you see someone suffer and eventually die. This shows the situation they are in before the gas bomb it thrown. “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge. ”
This is telling us that they are carrying very heavy sacks on their backs and they are walking in sludge. This is weighing them down and they are struggling to keep going. They would be coughing because of all the smoke that they are breathing in from the bombs. This has a big effect on him, as he did not think that war would be like this, he had all the fantasies that everyone else had. Actually, it is totally the opposite of what he expected. This is a message to all the people who are considering joining in, and a message to his family and friends about what he is going though.
He replaces people’s dreams of war and replaces it with an image of people suffering and dying. Owen thinks that everyone has a right to know what they are really in for if they do join in, he wants everyone to know the truth about war. In the next stanza of the poem, the whole situation changes from people suffering, to people having to act quickly to stay alive. A gas bomb is dropped behind they and everyone has to get their gas masks on quickly to stay alive because of the gas. In this stanza, Owen tries to give as a taste of what it was like when they were attacked.
He describes them as ‘fumbling’ and ‘stumbling to make us feel uncomfortable, and then he describes what he saw when one of the soldiers did not hey his gas mask on in time. He was “flound’ring like a man on fire or lime… ” Then he tells us “As under a green sea, I saw him drowning” This brings out his own helpfulness and horror. He makes us feel uncomfortable as we can imagine what it is like to suffocate or drown. He feels that no one should suffer as if they were before dying.
Then there is a very short stanza to let us know how helpless he feels at that moment. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. ” He described the man in just three words, which is more that enough to let us imagine what he saw, it makes us think what we would have done in this situation. It is separate from the rest of the poem because he is describing his helplessness. The last part of this poem, he shows us what he saw and was feeling at the time, trying to tell us that no one should want to go through what he is going through. He wishes that he could just stop the whole thing and not let it happen again.
He tries to convince us that war in not what you think it is, but much worse. He is mad that all of this is happening, he is not thinking about defending his country any more, and he is more concerned about his survival. Another one of Owens poems, “Futility”, describes another death, the only difference is that the person is already dead when he finds him, and he probably died from hypothermia. ‘Futility’ describes his feelings more when he sees this dead body. The dead body is a soldier that used to be a farmer who lived in France. They wish that they could save him.
He is thinking that maybe the sum may help the dead soldier, or wishing that it could. He was thinking that the sun might warm the soldier up and save him. He starts to describe what the soldier would have done in the morning before he became a soldier, when he used to live on a far in France. He said that in the morning, the sun would always wake him up, and he would start work, he thought that if the sun always used to wake him then, it might wake him now. As the first poem describes how he feels when he sees someone dying, this poem describes how he feels when he sees someone dead.
He prays for the dead soldier to survive, and hopes for a miracle to happen, he wants to believe that the soldier will survive. We would think that as a soldier, he would get used to seeing people die, but he is trying to tell is that actually, the more deaths they see, the more depressing it becomes when they see another death. He also uses half rhymes in his poem to make us feel uncomfortable when reading it. For example, ‘once’ and ‘France’ at the end of line two and four, do not quite rhyme.
After this, at the end of the stanza, there is finally a rhyme to make us feel relieved, for example, ‘snow’ and ‘know’ rhyme. This is an attempt by Owen to try to show his feelings. Owen feels uncomfortable when he sees the body because he does not know what to do about it, and all the mixed feelings in him is driving him to despair. In the next stanza he say’s “Think how it wakes the seeds” This line makes no sense, because a seed is nothing like a dead body, it is showing that he wants it to make sense and he is hoping that the sun will awaken him, even though it will not.
He say’s this because of all the thoughts that are going through his head, they are all confusing him, he is describing how he felt, He goes further with this thought, he say’s “We woke once, the clays of a cold star. ” Here he is telling us that the sun bought the earth to life, so it should be able to bring this dead soldier life. We know that it will not, but he is praying that it will. He then poses a rhetorical question because he feels incomprehension. He is asking god to save this mans life.
Both of these poems describe a death and both of them make us feel sad, and make us think about what it must be like to see someone die like Owen did. This is what Owen was trying to see do. Just send us a message that makes us think, and maybe try to make us against the idea of seeing someone suffer and die. It could just as easily have been Owen that did not find his gas mask, and if we were there, it could have been us. This is a terrible thought, and when we read his poems, we realise this.
This proves that Owen is against war and those people who advocate it. He wants the war to stop and to never go into war again. Owen has mixed feelings about war, and this confuses him sometimes, it is as if he is dreaming, for example, in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight” This is telling you how he feels, he is saying that it is worse that any nightmare that he has ever had, and that it is so unbelievable, he thinks that he may be dreaming, or wants it to be a dream so that he can just wake from it and it will all be over.
Here’s another example in ‘Futility’. “Think how it wakes the seed” He thinks that or is dreaming that the sun will wake him like it does the seeds that he once grew. In both of these poems, he wants it to be a dream so as he can wake up and none of it would have happened, because it is so terrible. Owen wants us to realise that war is wrong and that it should not be happening, because of all the people that suffer from it.