Analysis Of Dulce Et Decorum Est

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‘My subject is War, and the pity of War.’ ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ is a line from the ode by Horace that translates to ‘It is sweet and fitting,’ a common trench lyric with the purpose to inspire men to believe their deaths will make them heroes. Wilfred Owen titles his poem with these words as a juxtaposition to the text, since he depicts the vulgar realities of the war in opposition to the patriotic propaganda soldiers were corrupted with.
Through Owen 's use of the supernatural, a liminal world between reality and unreality is created. He describes the soldiers as ‘coughing like hags '. These young men were all eager to enlist, yet Owen emasculates them by moulding them into female mythological creatures, creating a sense of unreality. For
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Its strict pattern shows either the control the government, and war, had on the men’s lives, or the perception of war presented by those who advertised it – a glorious and heroic occasion. Yet it’s through the language we can see the realities. Ironically, an ABAB rhyme scheme is used; inside the lines are half-rhymes, which rely on Owen’s unexpected use of assonance, surprising the reader. For example ‘… green sea...’ and ‘…dreams before…’ The repeated use of the extended ‘e’ sound creates the half rhyme. It doesn’t conform to our expectation of the proper rhyme which correlates with the soldier’s expectations of being war heroes- in the end they either die or were scarred with mental or physical injuries. The use of spondees, for example ‘Gas shelled,’ ‘Knock kneed’ and ‘Blood shod’, also disturbs the fluidity. The meter appears to be the traditional structure used by Pope, or Herbert Asquith. However, Owen is revealing the sinister realities the soldiers experienced therefore he changes the meter to highlight the different experience they faced in comparison to the lies presenting a glorified war. As readers we are able to notice these small interruptions in the strict structure but the poem continues regardless, which represents solders who continued on ‘towards [their] distant rest,’ despite the threat…show more content…
Arthur Brook, a medical officer at Craiglockhart War Hospital, suggested that he face the ‘phantoms of the mind’, as he does in ‘Dulce et Decorum est,’ with the ‘guttering, choking, drowning’ man who haunts his ‘dreams’. He exposes, (there by) releasing, the anger and frustration felt by many who had been lied to. He can only express this through poetry as he writes ‘All a poet can do today is warn. That is why the true poet must be truthful.’ James Campell suggests it forces him into an 'epistemological trap ' as the reader can never truly understand his experiences; therefore we must question if his poetry is truthful. Owen uses ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ to show the realities of war, but cannot fully justify, through words, his desolate reality of
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