Pessimism In Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est

1747 Words 7 Pages
War, as many people know, creates massive casualties of humans, hatred among humankind, and overall, catastrophe. Many soldiers, who are also the leading generation for our future, are forced to take part in what could be known as “homicide” as they would go on to kill their enemies, most of them belonging to same age. It is no wonder that the horribleness and atrocity of war is a common theme among poets. The literary works of Owen, Jarrell, and Komunyakaa asserts that war causes severe damages to humanity and no one should go through its ruthlessness. In Wilfred Owen’s poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est” the poet uses his own war experience to strongly argue against the idea that war is glorious, as the olden days thought so. Owen, a soldier …show more content…
In this sonnet, the poet pessimistically portrays soldiers at war, go further as calling his poem an “anthem” for them. Starting with a rhetorical question, Owen asks “What passing bells for these who die as cattle?” (ll 1), asking who rings the church funeral bells for the dead soldiers in battle. He also makes his bitterness towards war available in that he refers to his fellow kinsmen as “cattle”. The usage of this word reveals that he believes that he and the other soldiers’ lives means nothing, like cows slaughtered for their meat. Then, in the final sextet, Owen illustrates a picture of funeral procession for the fallen soldiers, using words such as “candles”, “holy glimmers”, “pall”, and “blinds”. He intends so to make his lamentation known to public, calling out to the rest of the world that these soldiers, who died a miserable and lonely death, would never get the proper respect and honor they deserve at their funeral. The last line of the poem, “And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds” (ll 14), beholds such power in that it is left to be interpreted in several ways. Though “the drawing of the blinds” could mean the death of a soldier, it can also be interpreted as the negligence of the public to avoid the abhorrent truth about war. Owen hated the fact that the rest of the world was …show more content…
With an unusual narrator, a dead ball turret gunner, the poem describes what could be known as the final thoughts of the gunner and his comment on his gruesome death. Straightforward with his words, Jarrell does not spare his readers from the horrid experience of being a ball turret gunner and what horrors he has to face. Furthermore, Jarrell’s use of double entendre between the ball turret gunner and abortion points out the atrociousness of war in graphic manner. Throughout the poem, Jarrell uses words like “mother’s sleep”, “belly”, “loosed”, portraying the death of the ball turret gunner not only as a soldier who lost his future but also as an aborted baby or baby who was taken out of his life from his mother’s protection. This is true in that from the first line, “From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State”(ll 1), Jarrell imposes an ambiguity that allows the analogy between the soldier’s death and an aborted baby. The use of phrase “mother’s sleep” could mean that the gunner had to leave his mother’s side to be enlisted by the United States and that this whole action also can be compared to a baby who was taken out from either his mother’s protection or her womb. This is analogy is also evident in that the last line states, “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose” (ll 6), alluding to the fact that

Related Documents