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Dulce Et Decorum Est Themes Analysis

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 622
  • Category: Poetry

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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 taunting him, and despite all of that he was still helpless. There is also more use of irony here, where even though this is a nightmare, the poet uses the word ‘dream’. In the last stanza, stanza four Owen uses another simile, but this time he compares to a devil ‘His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin’, a devil itself is a symbol for death and despair, so how on earth could a devil be sick of its own self. He also describes his inability and uneasiness he felt for the ones that died, and the pity he felt for his comrades and also other members who were injured or had died in war.

To those of his time; represents glory, pride and honor, but Owen challenges this idea in his poem. The lines ‘my friend, you would not tell with such high zest, to the children ardent for some desperate glory’ this suggests to the audience it they knew the reality of war, they would not be propagandizing it to the young men, who he also refers to as children. The ‘cheap’ glory according to Owen was not worth it, and could definitely cost them their life.

The title ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ means ‘It is sweet and right to die for ones country’ but Owen has contradicted his title completely throughout the whole poem. The poem Owen has wrote in contrast to the title has represents the soldiers and their unforgettable experience, and the pain that they had to suffer mentally and physically, that would be haunting them for the rest of their lives. The title Dulce et Decorum est…to owen is an old lie.

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