Dulce Et Decorum Est By Wilfred Owen

1344 Words 5 Pages
In Dulce et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen appallingly recounts the occurrences on the battlefield throughout World War One. The poem is centered on the quote, “Dulce et decorum est- pro patria mori”, ironically meaning, “It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country”. However, there is absolutely nothing in the poem that is sweet. He depicts war as an aging and dehumanizing experience by utilizing terrifying metaphors and sensory details effectively. Owen then forces the reader to cringe through a gas attack from beginning to end. Owen utilizes sensory details as well as comparisons to challenge the quote that is, “It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country”; as he seeks to expose the real lasting effects of watching countless men die in …show more content…
The introductory lines vividly describe how the soldiers are crippled, mentally and physically by this war. We are introduced after reading the title to the line, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks” (line 1). The young men are suggested to have become doubled, as two people. These young vibrant men prior to the war, and now disfigured old beggars during the war. Following that line, the soldiers are “Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, [cursing] through sludge” (line 2). Knock knees is an angular deformity of the knees in children. Owen using this childhood deformity to describe these men denounces their virility, as well creates the image of how bad the body is warped during war. He also compares these young men to old hags. These men have lost their youth by the war, as well as their masculinity. Imagery is used very effectively in this line. We can hear the soldiers coughing and cursing as they trudge, as well as imagine these men trying to grasp anything they can to steady their knock knees and bent backs. Owen describes the “Men [as marching] asleep” (line 5) utilizing a hyperbole to illustrate how immensely exhausted they were. This also gives a distinct image of the soldier’s mental health. People do not walk asleep unless something is seriously wrong. Owen also describes war as a dehumanizing experience. In the line, “[they] limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind” (line 6) Owen utilizes the words lame and blood-shod which are usually associated with animals to describe the men. People typically use shod to describe fitting a shoe to a horse, and lame for an animal that does not walk properly. Illustrating these young eager soldiers prior to the war, turning into lame animals during the war. Later in the poem Owen utilizes the line, “Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud” (line 23) Cud provokes a farming image in the readers mind since it is half-digest pasture of

Related Documents