Dulce et Decorum est, by Wilfred Owen.

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Dulce et Decorum est, by Wilfred Owen.

The First World War was an event that brought to many people, pain,

sorrow and bitterness. Accounts of the war shows that no other war

challenged existing conventions, morals and ideals in the same way as

did World War. Many people touched by the terrror of the war have

written pieces of literature about the massacre that was World War 1,

wishing people to understand the horror and tragedy that befell those

involved. "Dulce et Decorum est", by Wilfred Owen, is one such elegy

that presents to the reader a vivid, horrifying description of World

War 1, aiming to illustrate that war is not romantic and heroic, but a

senseless and devastating event. In this poem, techniques such as

imagery, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia and contrast are used

to express Owen's angry and bitter view towards what happened in the


"Dulce et Decorum Est" uses strong images to convey Owen's feelings

about the war, and to force the reader to take his view. Ghastly

pictures of the war occur throughout the poem, largely in the last

stanza, working together to present a vivid picture of the war. These

images, utilised by Owen, show the ultimate irony and the moral of the

poem, that it is not in fact a sweet fate to die for one's country

even though others may think it heroic. This irony is illustrated

using juxtaposition at the end of the poem. The men who enlist are

"innocent", they are "children" who have learned that war is full of

"high zest" and this makes them "ardent for some desperate glory".

These innocent boys are willing to believe the Lie but will think

differently once they experience the war first hand.

Descriptive language is used throughout the poem to evoke specif...

... middle of paper ...

...rd "drowning" is repeated

twice to imprint on the reader's mind the effect the gas had on the


The language used also helps to give a stronger impact on the reader

by involving the use of one of the reader's five senses. In "Dulce et

decorum est", onomatopoeia is used to enhance the effect of the poem,

by involving the reader's sense of hearing. Words such as "guttering",

"gargling" and "choking" are used to emphasise the horrific sounds of

a man dying from gas, as the sounds of the words can be likened to

what they are describing.

The reader's attention does not wander throughout the poem because of

Owen's consistent imagery. By the end of the poem, the reader can

fully appreciate the irony between the truth of what happens in the

trenches and the Lie being told at home. It is this attention to form

and imagery that makes the poem effective.
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