In his time he also composed some war poetry. His incredible works also Inspired others to write war poetry e. g. Siegfried Sassoon. However the most famous poem that Owen is renowned for is 'Dulce et Decorum Est' 'Dulce et decorum Est' Is a poem written by Wilfred Owen describing his experiences of WWI.
The poem is titled 'Dulce et decorum est' meaning "it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country' though the poem talks about something very opposite thus mocking the statement and making it a sarcastic comment focused on those who ncourage conflict and proclaim It as being glorious. 'Dulce et Decorum Est' reveals the truth behind conflict the grief and suffering It causes. The author with the use of graphic imagery and diction tries to convey the horrors of conflict and war. It also shows the futility of conflict and in a quite explicit manner the true reality of death!
The ideas the poet wants us to consider are the horrors of war and Its sheer and utter futility. Owen also wants us to think about the propaganda that is put forward by the government and how it differs from the exact reality of conflict. The poet is trying to say if you do get through the war you must experience mental torture and live with guilt ALL your life long! We know this when Owen writes "In all my dreams. before my helpless sight he plunges at me guttering, choking, drowning". Owen is telling us that he is haunted by the men that died in the gas attack and he can't help them no matter how much he wants to.
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This poem has a miserable and gloomy atmosphere to it Just like the earth which has an ozone layer around it. In this war poem the mood is very grim and poignant too. There is an effective use of simile... "like a devil's sick of sin" because it compares the situation to the devil. The devil Is known to be first cause of sin but even If he Is "sick" of it then it MUST be very catastrophic! There is also a great use of sibilance. This is effective because when said it will put emphasis on "sick" to explain how awful of a level the conflict had escalated to.
There is a deathly air of resignation around which makes the reader lament the death of the soldiers. Owen's choice of diction is used to create great effect. When he uses a simile in the irst line "like old beggars under sacks". Soldiers are supposed to be fit men and a comparison with old beggars indicates that they have been brought down to such a level that they are now equal of hunched, tired, unfed, homeless and old people. Even their uniforms have lost their militaristic crispness, as Owen describes them as "sacks. " This picture is a definite contrast to the idealized marching formations of 'OF3 mood.
Owen again shows the tiredness of the soldiers in the last line of that stanza when he say "Of gas shells dropping softly behind" which is very contrasting from ow gas shells actually drop. They make a loud hissing noise and can be heard from far. Thus Owen shows that the soldiers' senses had dulled. Only a completely exhausted soldier with no strength could be in this state of mind to not have heard the gas shells. Another rather unusual choice of diction is... "coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge". The simile coughing like hags suggests the men were unhealthy.
The fact that Owen compares them to hags who are old ugly women suggests that the war has made youthful and healthy into good for nothing women ho have a permanent coughing fit due to old age and illness. "But limped on, blood- shod. All went lame; all blind;" gives the feeling that these men have become dehumanized and are reduced to an animal-like state. Thus arousing the question as to how could this is glorious. A side theme is highlighted in the first stanza: as to how do young and robust men with bright futures reduced to old ragged men benefit the nation!
The graphic and vivid imagery used by Owen in the poem, gives the reader a feeling of horror and makes them question as to how humans could do such atrocities. In lines 9-14 there is a change of pace. First the repetition of the monosyllabic word/ onomatopoeia "gas" which echoes the sound of gun fire and then the oxymoron," ecstasy of fumbling", seems a odd choice of diction, but later turns out to be perfect, as Owen uses it to describe the controlled panic instantly awakened with keen awareness- of youthful men with Just seconds to find a gas mask. Owen uses a metaphor when he says "As under a green sea I saw him drowning".
This is an extended metaphor which is used to a great extent because it enhances the reader's nderstanding of the feeling of being trapped by poisonous gas. This man dies gruesomely after he inhales the gas, ironically showing how helpless and powerless a human is against a man made weapon. In the next stanza Owen uses a metaphor "guttering, choking, drowning". This is a very gruesome image for life flickering out. These graphic images are very disturbing but play a very effective role in the persuasion of readers to think that conflict is very futile and horrific.
Owen uses one of the most descriptive, gruesome and horrifying imagery in the last stanza. When he ses phrases like "white eyes writhing in his face,", "at every Jolt the blood", "come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs/ obscene as cancer bitter as cud". Phrases like these can scare the hardest of men. The graphic images displayed are profoundly affecting and can never be forgotten. Owen's use of excellent imagery can sway many readers into believing that wars are the worst things that can happen and how dreadful a death a human could face.
Owen ties the poem when he says in the last two lines "the Old lie: Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mort". When Owen has inished his sentence, we understand that there is nothing "sweet and fitting" to die for ones country. Owen thus creates a Juxtapose, leaving the reader with the feeling of disgust and repulsion. And also shows that conflict can lead to such horrendous and tragic consequences. poem, making war seem absolutely horrid and revolting, which is Just what Owen wanted to do. Reading this poem left me gasping and shocked. The fact that Owen talks about the illnesses the men endure, within the simile "coughing like hags".
This helps me to see that the men were in horrendous conditions. The poem shows the harshness of war and absolutely condemns the saying that "it is sweet and fitting to fight for one's country'. Owen's graphic vivid imagery and diction completely ousts all positive words and feelings towards conflict. The fact that I know that Owen was killed one week before the completion of WWI makes it all the poignant as well as the fact that many people are currently indulged in conflict, as we speak, around the world. It makes me ponder on the fact that war will always be glorified and unfortunately, there will always be conflict!
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