Dulce Et Decorum Est

1014 Words3 Pages

World War One was one of the deadliest results of human violence, simply to attain riches, land, and to fulfill the greed for victory and pride. Young and old men alike were deceived into joining war to fulfill a fictitious and nationalistic duty, and were forced to live in the inhumane conditions in the trenches, offering their lives as a patriotic duty. In Wilfred Owen’s poem, “Dulce et decorum est”, the readers are given an accurate description of the hardships and horrors of the world war 1, through the personal experience and eyes of Owen himself. Poetic devices and figurative language were both used immaculately in representing the tormenting situations that the soldiers were placed in. Vibrant imagery, themes and irony were also incorporated exceptionally into the poem, adding depth and meaning. With a remarkable use of techniques, Owen really creates a mental image of utter despair, disgust, revulsion and well, war in our minds.

The horrible conditions and quality of life in the trenches of World War One are emphasized with Owen’s use of figurative language, such as similes, metaphors and personification. An excellent example of a simile would be what he wrote in the first line of the poem, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knock kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through the sludge” (stanza 1, line 1 and 2). This description portrays the soldiers to be ‘crippled or ‘broken’, and shows them to be left both psychologically and physically scarred. It really helps us to visualize a group of young men who are in fact exhausted and so “drunk with fatigue”(stanza 1, line 7) that they are unable to even stand upright, and have lost most control over their physical actions. By bringing in these similes, Owen adds mo...

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...ith the use of irony, giving it greater depth, meaning and soul.

To summarize, Owen uses numerous literary techniques to illustrate his firsthand experience of World War One, and communicates his opinions with a distinguished use of metaphors, similes, personifications, themes, imagery and irony. Owen recognized that the high casualties and unnecessary deaths in World War One were all in fact a metaphor for all death in modern warfare; the well known ‘glory’ of dying for one’s country was simply a lie. Thanks to this, he was successful in making people realize that “The old lie: Dulce Et Decorum Est, Pro Patria Mori”, ‘It is sweet and right to die for one’s country’ is a terrible misunderstanding, and the poem it depicts an irony of death on the modern battlefield. No matter how noble the reasons may be, nothing but misery, heartbreak and agony can come from war.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how wilfred owen's poem, "dulce et decorum est," accurately describes the hardships and horrors of the world war 1 through the personal experience and eyes of owen himself.
  • Analyzes how owen uses similes, metaphors and personification to convey his message about the misery and oppression practiced during world war 1.
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