Dulce Et Decorum Est Essay

1167 Words Mar 31st, 2015 5 Pages
Dulce et Decorum est. In 1917 Wilfred Owen was shell-shocked in the war and was a patient in hospital in Edin burgh when he penned ‘Dulce et Decorum est.’ It was here that Owen encountered Siegfried
Sassoon who was sent there to silence him, but encouraged and helped Owen to not only write his poems, but ultimately ensured that his work was published. This was a time when the battles he experienced were still fresh in his mind and the truth about war was not cloud- ed by further life experiences. This is a particularly potent, powerful and hard-hitting piece of poetry. The poet describes the harsh and inhuman conditions of war which is in stark contrast to the propaganda which was published by the military hierarchy and the
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When fit young men are described as ‘marching asleep, losing their boots, lim ping on blood-shod, all lame, all blind, nobody escaped, drunk with fatigue and deaf to the sound of artillery shells behind them, this has really gone beyond a battle where people got shot. Everybody was debilitated to some degree. To have to keep going despite the above conditions, and then to compound things, the absolute exhaustion. The poem takes on a different pace in the second sestet, ‘Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!-An ecstasy of fumbling’. This shows the panic setting in with the soldiers amidst a gas attack. Ecstasy of fumbling is very descriptive of how somebody would act if they were trying to do something with their eyes closed and holding their breath.
‘ But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.’
The above quartet qualifies the panic to get the gas mask on. Floundering like a man on fire would describe the actions of a man feeling the burning effects of the gas, like a fish on dry land, there is no escape now. He goes talk about the gas itself, he used the word green twice on two lines and words like ‘dim, misty’ and ‘thick’ showing

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