The Old Lie Dulce Et Decorum Est Analysis

Improved Essays
The Old Lie: Dulce et Decorum Est
Wilfred Owen had experienced first-hand the horrors of World War One, and watched as countless young lives were slaughtered believing “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est” (27), that it was sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. He wrote the poem Dulce et Decorum Est to clearly refute the message espoused by many, that war is glorious, by bringing to life the horrors of warfare through vivid imagery. This was accomplished by exposing the gruesome conditions the soldiers fought through, vividly describing the death of one of the soldiers, and revealing the dreadful nightmares that haunted the soldiers who survived the war.
Owen allowed the reader to comprehend the detestable circumstances the soldiers
…show more content…
The narrator described the event leading up to the death of his comrade as an “ecstasy of fumbling” (9) to put the gas masks on before the poisonous gas could take their lives. Owen used the word “ecstasy” (9) to describe to the soldier’s heightened emotional state of terror. The terror causes a surge in adrenaline which makes the soldiers fumble while trying to put their masks on. This showed how easy it was for soldiers to take a second too long to put their masks on due to their “fumbling” (9).Thus, it was just as likely for any of the soldiers to have died the same slow, agonizing death as their …show more content…
In other words, when the solider inhaled the green gas it burned the inside of his lungs, which caused the soldier to choke to death. To illustrate, the narrator then stated that “as under a green sea, [he] saw [the solider] drowning” (14). Owen tried to further depict the awful agony that results from the inhalation of the poisonous gas by comparing it to drowning. By relating this situation to downing, the readers can visualize the solider “guttering, choking, drowning” (16) in the green sea, and are able to better comprehend the torment he underwent. By painting such a vivid image of the soldier’s horrific death, Owen emphasized the horrible tragedies the soldiers suffered during the

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Throughout the entire poem, the author explains his experience in the war in overly descriptive words to describe human scarring experiences. During the war, WIlfred Owen does encounter many obliteration of humans, and in doing so it scarred him for the rest of his life. For example, words like ¨guttering, choking, drowning¨ describes his experience of seeing his comrades die right in front of him. Many of the deaths were caused by the poison gas, and in the poem, the author was trying to show how tragic it was to die by gas. The poison gas that was introduced by Germany caused you to basically die by drowning in your own blood.…

    • 1470 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    combat veterans harder for them to bear. They felt that the sharing of such traumatic incidents would be understood or well received. Fussell killed several German soldiers by direct rifle fire as they themselves shot or were preparing to shoot him. The capstone traumatic event was when during an ill planned offensive he was struck by shrapnel from a German tank destroyer and while writhing and fainting from pain, kept conscious long enough to see his first sergeant (and new best friend) die as he bled out from his own wounds. He witnesses a French woman grieving over the corpse of her husband on a village road, an architect needlessly killed by shellfire from his own division.…

    • 1672 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It is no surprise that World War I will remain one of the most historical wars in the world for challenging conventions, morals, and values of the American people. World War I comprised of the use of poison gas, the long stalemate on the Western Front, and trench warfare— all of which resulted in the massive loss of human life. Poets like Wilfred Owen who participated in the war, fought in the war, and even died in the war, wrote his poems in disdain towards the great war. Owen released his most famous poem “Dulce et Decorum est” to admonish the people of America that contrary to popular belief, war is anything but sweet and heroic. The author seeks to convince his readers that the horrors of war far outweigh the nationalistic platitudes…

    • 1315 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    In “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen the readers see the truth behind the war. It is no longer glorification but pure fear, anxiety and atrocity. Wilfred Owen was a soldier in world war 1 and brings his own situations to the table when he depicts the scene of a comrade dying. In the scene “And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,/ His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;/ If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood/ Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs” (Dulce et Decorum Est). The scene is no longer about a man boasting pride and a new uniform anymore.…

    • 1809 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The author brilliantly uses extensive imagery throughout this poem to explain the terrible reality of war, especially trench warfare (Mazzeno). The number of deaths and injuries from trench warfare is immeasurable. Owen has been there and puts very descriptive imagery into the poem to show the reader what happens during war and make it have a powerful meaning. It is used through the entire poem starting with the first line; he describes the soldiers as “bent double like old beggars;”(Owen) they are crippled and warped by the war. Another is when the man is “drowning” in the gas.…

    • 770 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Wilfred Owen’s war poetry is shaped by an intense focus on extraordinary human experiences. He was particularly concerned to show the true circumstances of the First World War, WW1 (1914-1918), by showing great depths of suffering and pity, as well as the falsity of war propaganda. ’Dulce Et Decorum Est’ graphically describes the traumatic setting of the battlefield, subverting traditional perceptions of war as honourable, emphasising the debilitating consequences of war on the young innocent soldiers. Similarly, through ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ Owen creates the scene of a funeral in order to demonstrate how young men have been abandoned and stripped of their lives and dignity on the battlefield. A close analysis of Owen’s language techniques…

    • 1383 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The imagery Owen uses is prevalent in these lines: "If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood/ Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs/ Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud," (Lines 21-23). These lines show that the men were brutally killed in this war. When the gas bomb was dropped, "Someone still yelling out and stumbling/ And flound 'ring like a man in fire or lime…./ He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning" (Lines 11-12,16). These lines suggest that many soldiers deaths were caused by the toxic gasses. The sounds of Owen’s poem are sounds of horror, the ‘coughing like hags,’ the ghostly ‘hoots’ of the shells, the deadly silent noise of the gas shells.…

    • 1566 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est, he criticized nationalism and support for the war because it supported the unethical conditions and deaths. He called the common phrase of French nationalism, “the Old Lie”. He questions the honor of fighting and dying for your country and one must witness a comrade’s death. All of these poems were written towards the end of WWI and they graphically describe the pain and horror the soldiers went through for nationalism and war. Through the soldiers’ literature, they asked their audience if nationalism was worth the pain and suffering they had to endure…

    • 749 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In “Masque of the Red Death”, the story maintains a strong mortality theme. People are dying all over the kingdom from a horrible disease, and even though the richest attempt their hardest to avoid it, no death can be avoided as proved by the end. The quote, “The "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous.”(pg) is used as the very first line of the story. Right away Poe is warning the reader of the state of the country’s people.…

    • 1165 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    For example, when the soldiers were attacked with poisonous gas they had to “watch the white eyes writhing in his face” and hear “the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs”. This imagery grossly depicts the everyday relentlessness of war including the contrast of “incurable sores on innocent tongues”, with war being incurable and the soldiers innocent. This recurring imagery contrasts against the title as it depicts nothing as sweet an honourable and further reinforces the irony. Contributing to this, similes such as “like old beggars under sacks” and metaphors such as “haunting flares” and “drunk with fatigue” are used. These techniques create vivid imagery and allow the unfamiliarity of war to be easily associated with everyday representations that anyone can understand.…

    • 1060 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays