The Pity of War in Dulce et Decom Est and The Last Night Essay

The Pity of War in Dulce et Decom Est and The Last Night Essay

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Dulce et Decorum Est and The Last Night both convey the bittersweet pity of war in two very different, yet simultaneously similar ways. The way that these pieces of literature operate is starkly contrasting, and to some extent, reflects upon the nature and intent with which they were written. For example, in Dulce et Decorum Est, Owen was writing to protest against the atrocious conditions to which “children ardent for some desperate glory” were being sent to, and for this, he used extremely graphic and striking imagery to evoke emotions of disgust and repulsion into the reader, which would hopefully bring them to understand and appreciate Owen’s viewpoint. One unequivocally parallel aspect of both of these pieces of creative writing is the fact that both of them are condemning war, and trying to cast it as an abomination of human nature, and to this end they succeeded.
Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est is very up-front about the circumstances of war, and uses very little subtle language in his poem, instead preferring to stir up powerful emotions in the reader. He uses two key tools to achieve this aim: vivid literary devices, and an effective choice of words/language. These combine to create chilling images which create their own niche in the reader’s mind. To illustrate this, instead of saying simply that the young men fighting the war take on the appearance of old men, he says “bent double, like old beggars under sacks.” Apart from adding more spice to the poem, there are lots of different connotations to the choice of words that Owen chooses to use. He gives the impression that the proud, valiant, patriotic young soldiers have been bent into something that no longer resembles what they once were. He likens the burden they ...


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...er gestures of water, coffee and breakfast give some hope to the reader, but only for a few seconds, as it doesn’t change the reality of the situation that they are in.
In conclusion, although ‘Last Night’ and ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ are both about the same subject matter, they come across very differently to the reader. Dulce et Decorum Est essentially tells of the horrific conditions that the military were forced to endure, and tells this very graphically, making extensive use of metaphor. ‘Last Night’ gives a more subdued account of a train transporting passengers to their deaths, and uses a very human context to convey the irony and pity of their situation, which goes (for the Jewish brothers) from confusion to more confusion, but unknown to them, will end in death. Both are equally effective in conveying their message, but just go about it in different ways.

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