How Does Wilfred Owen Present the Lives of Soldiers in a Time of Conflict and His Own Attitude to War in "Dulce Et Decorum Est"?

1261 Words Nov 25th, 2010 6 Pages
Throughout the duration of this essay I will look to answer the question written above, with the use of Point, Evidence and Explanation, in the subtopics of Interpretation, Structure, Language, Imagery and Personal Response.
The poem talks of a gas attack upon an accumulation of soldiers who are fighting in World War I. He sarcastically states that it is ‘sweet and fitting to die for ones country’. Wilfred Owen thought completely different of this, however, and is complexly against the war. He uses very powerful, vivid descriptions, for example, the young soldiers being described as ‘aged by war’. For someone to ‘age’ in a matter of minutes, seconds even, is an astounding thing, most likely referring to the mentality of the soldiers,
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Originally it was dedicated to a civilian propagandist who tried to ameliorate going to war. Owen later decided that rather than aiming it at one person, he should put it out for a larger audience, so that maybe people would espy what he was trying to put out. It was an attempt to cure the blissfully ignorant minds of the public plagued by propaganda.

The poem contains 4 verses, 28 lines and annexes a loose iambic pentameter. The poem holds a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD etc. Verse 1 is a description of the soldiers heading for camp after fighting at the trenches in the front lines. It is a flamboyant, powerful description of the physical condition the soldiers are in. Examples would be ‘like old beggars’ and ‘knock-kneed’. Verse 2 is the gas attack itself. Begins with 3 short sentences, promptly augmenting the pace from verse 1 as well as amplifying tension. There is massive emphasis on the urgency of the situation to fit their masks efficiently, evidence for the required urgency is shown when one man is too slow and suffers the repercussions much to the horror of his fellow soldiers. Verse 3 contains 2 quick lines, for impact and helps to ingrain what has just happened in verse 3. Use of commas for several dramatic pauses as well as a list of adjectives for a clear yet intense portrayal of the event. Verse 4 is reminiscing for Owen as he depicts the body of his still alive fellow soldier being flung onto the wagon. He then takes on a less

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