An Interpretation of “Dulce et Decorum Est” Essay

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What would it feel like to be in the middle of the bloodiest war in history? Surrounded by death on all sides it seems impossible that anybody would write poetry about this very subject. Thanks to the poem “Dulce et Decorum Est,” Wilfred Owen gives the reader a small window into the horrors that he witnessed firsthand in the carnage of battle. Faced with death at every turn, Owen takes the time to chronicle these terrible events that happened shortly before his own death. Owen uses rhythm, rhyme, and imagery to convey the message that people should be careful glorifying war because it is a very traumatic event that takes many innocent lives. When a reader tries to understand the rhythm of “Dulce et Decorum Est” it becomes a bit tricky …show more content…
Owen wants to point out the terror that he witnessed while being gassed on the front lines. Owen makes the gas incident the focal point at line 9 when he uses the exclamation marks when saying, “Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!” (9). It becomes more clear to the reader Owen wants to point out those horrific events as he sacrifices the rhythm in order to give pause to the story that is being unfolded to the reader. Owen also incorporates his message into his use of both end and internal rhyme. At first glance the reader can easily see that Owen decides to use a very common end rhyme pattern of abab with his choice of the words “sacks” (1), “sludge” (2), “back” (3), and “trudge” (4). When a reader starts to break down the entire poem it is fairly obvious that Owen put much more thought towards using his rhymes to help to convey his message. This is evident when you get to line 24 and he ends that line by using the word “cancer” which has no other evident word that rhymes with it. He does this to show that war is like a type of “cancer” (24) that has been eating away at civilization. He further modifies his use of rhythm in order to get the reader to focus on the climax of the story held within the poem when he uses “drowning” in both lines 14 and 16. This brings more attention to the events of the death of his fellow soldier. Through the use of consonance, Owen further ties in the events that led up to that death in lines 9 and 11 with the use of “fumbling” and “stumbling”.

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