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Dulce et Decorum Est

Uploaded by x-aimee-kate-x on Jan 31, 2005

This poem was written by Wilfred Owen and is based on his situation in the trenches during World War One. I wish to discuss how Owen effectively portrays the suffering of the soldiers using various writing techniques.

In this poem Wilfred Owen describes the agony these men are put through after a hard day of fighting, gas attacks and the excruciating pain of watching a fellow soldier die a gruesome death.

In the first stanza the poet shocks us by using an image of tired defenceless men, and uses the unexpected simile, “bent double, like old beggars.” This gives an idea of weakness, vulnerability and despair which is ironic because of the supposed strength we associate with soldiers.

In the second stanza I found the last line particularly disturbing. The quote I have chosen is “gas shells dropping softly behind.” I find this particularly moving because the noise of gas shells dropping is usually quite a loud noise, but compared to artillery noises the soldiers have been accustomed to, gas shells dropping may sound quieter or perhaps the hearing of the men is now so badly impaired because of the constant high noise level, that the gas shells dropping appears to be a softer noise.

In the third stanza the pace of the poem changes entirely, when a gas attack strikes. The punctuation increases the drama of the attack where capitals are used for the full word, “GAS!” This almost startled me because of the slow beginning the poem has, where all the men are trudging through the mud very depressed and all of a sudden things change because there has been gas thrown so everyone has to move fast.

The fourth stanza is the shortest, consisting only of two lines. However four words in the stanza produce a very vivid image. The poet is watching a man chocking to death on the gas that has just been thrown at them and he uses the words, “he plunges at me.” After reading this short phrase I felt the desperation of the soldier drowning in the gas. It clearly paints a picture of how he knows he is going to die and how Owen who is watching him is completely helpless and unable to do anything to save him.

In the fifth stanza I found three rather striking expressions. The first being, “the wagon we flung him in.” I think in this line,...

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Uploaded by:   x-aimee-kate-x

Date:   01/31/2005

Category:   Poetry

Length:   3 pages (626 words)

Views:   1784

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