Heroism In George Mcgovern's Dulce Et Decorum Est

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George S. McGovern once said “I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” McGovern is stating that the “old men”, the government use the young men of a specific country to fight the wars they initiate. War is most of the time seen as a sense of pride and tribute for one’s country, but many don’t realize the savagery battlefields hold. Just like George McGovern, the poet, Wilfred Owen, who was a soldier in World War One and died in that Great War wrote many anti-war poems. In Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” he attacks the glamorized perspective of war, the philosophy that it is full of honor, and that to die for one’s country is an act of great heroism through the use of strong diction, vivid, influential imagery …show more content…
The rhyme scheme is of alternating rhymes in groups of four, ABAB CDCD EFEF. However, these are broken up in an irregular way, rather than being presented as quatrains. From line 1 through 5, Wilfred Owen states “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, till on the haunting flares we turned our backs and towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep.” In the first five lines, Owen compares the exhausted soldiers to beggars returning from a clash with their sacks full and bent double. In the next four lines, Owen describes the soldier’s fatigue. The soldiers were so tired that they marched without conscious and not even noticing the bombshells. The sound of the rhyming words in those lines responds the horrors of the war affecting the soldiers psychologically and physically. Each rhyming word emphasizes the savagery of the war and the ghastly conditions of the actual battlefield, most strikingly the rhyming words “trudge” and “sludge” These two word represent the raining weather in Europe affecting the battlefields by creating them into enormous swamps like conditions in which many soldiers lost their lives because fighting in such conditions was next to impossible. This all contributes to the message that Owen is conveying throughout the poem which is the effect that combats have on a human being …show more content…
Owen’s rich imagery describes the soldier’s fatigue "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks.” A reader can depict the fatigue of the soldiers, walking tiredly on the war ground. As well as comparing the soldiers to “old beggars”, the soldiers are very sloppy after being in a battle for a long period of time. The reader can compare this line to the real world by remembering a scene in that reader’s mind of how a homeless person looks like and compare to the filth battle brought to soldiers. Furthermore, the reader can image soldiers fighting on a battlefield, with their faces and uniform covered with dust, dirt, and even blood, tired of being in battle. This creates a feeling of sorrow and pity for what the soldiers are experiencing. Just like the first line which describes what war does to the human body, throughout the lines 21 to 24, the imagery is very descriptive. Owen describes a soldier’s body breaking down by stating “If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues…” The reader gets to witness a true house of horror from gargling blood to cancer like sores in the lifeless soldier Wilfred Owen saw. The description can also create disgust of the after effects of a battle. This image also conveys the horror of war by giving a scene of sorrow. Owen

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