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Dulce Et Decorum Est

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"Dulce et decorum est" Rachel Moran

"Dulce et decorum est" is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I and I am going to convey how the poet captures the horrific and outrageous circumstances the soldiers had to suffer.

This poem describes the horrendous situations the exhausted soldiers had to go through, from in the trenches to gas attacks. Owens aim of the poem is to argue the saying Ð''Dulce et decorum est' and to show the reader the reality of World War I, he makes this clear in the last stanza.

The poet shocks us in the first few lines of the poem by his disturbing use of imagery and word choice. This is portrayed in the words: "Men marched asleep". This shows that the soldiers were doing everything in routine and didn't need to think about anything. Also it is comparing the men to zombies as they are "marching asleep", as if working in the army has been so tough on them, they are now marching with no soul or sense of spirit. A phrase which illustrates their misery further: "coughing like hags". These lines additionally describe how horrific this situation really is. "Coughing" suggests that the air was in bad condition, probably due to the shells and pollution. It also indicates that the men were struggling to breathe or they may have ill health from all the rats crawling around carrying diseases. Owen compares the young, fit men to old "hags". This is shocking as it gives the reader an idea of vulnerability and weaknesses. When you hear soldiers, you get an automatic impression that they would be full of energy and powerful, which is ironic because of the supposed strength we affiliate with soldiers. I found that the effective use of imagery and word choice created a disturbing and shocking image of how obscene this situation really is.

The tone changes dramatically in the second stanza when the soldiers suddenly come under a gas attack and Owen effectively conveys the confusion and distress of their plight. Owen uses exclamation marks to suggest the sudden change in tone, from miserable to panic stricken in the first word of the second stanza to convey the suddenness of the gas attack: "Gas! Gas! Quick boys!" This shows the extremity and desperation of the situation when the soldiers have to react swiftly. It also suggests the movement of the men when they here this code. Another way the poet highlights the confusions and horror of a gas attack is when Owen describes the soldier caught in the gas attack as, "Under a green sea." This illustrates that the scene of a gas attack must have created a vivid image as the men are engulfed in the poisonous gas, once they're surrounded by it, there's no way to escape. It is almost as if the waves of the poisonous fumes come and greet you to a slow, painful death. For me these little words have a big meaning and it left me speechless and additionally planted a striking image in my head of the terror these men went through. It almost startled me because of the slow beginning the poem has and things change because gas has been thrown so everyone has to move fast.

In the third stanza, Owen addresses the reader directly and uses extremely distressing images. This vivid account of the man dying in the gas attack is portrayed in these words: "He plunges at me". The word "plunges" suggests how desperate and vulnerable the man is; also it is creating an image that the man is falling towards Owen showing that he has no strength left, and although the man is now incurable he indicates that he is not ready to die yet. Another way in which Owen powerfully conveys this image is in the words: "Guttering, choking, drowning". The list and repetition of these words strongly emphasises how horrifying and painful this lingering death is. The drowning noises convey that the man is trying to get help but is helpless himself; Owen is probably traumatised himself as he is haunted by these words from the repetition which creates an image that it is never going to go away, it will always come back. The effect of the onomatopoeia is impressive as you can imagine



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