The Reality Of War And Death Depicted In Owen's Poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est

1100 words - 4 pages

If we look at the history of the world with a kaleidoscope, we can see the different aspects of war and what effect it had on the mind of different people and artists such as poets, painters and authors. Many poets romanticized war, luring it with their pen and giving it a beautiful look by glorifying death and obliging young blood to fight for their motherland. For example the poems “Peace” by Rupert Brooke and “Fall In” by Harold Begbie painted war with the highlights of glamorous and sensation. Apart from poets there are also politicians who achieved their aims with the help of war and violence while others who used the weapons of non violence to achieve their goals. The most famous example is of Adolf Hitler who took the aid of war to conquer the territories. The media also has a great impact on the mind of the public, like newspapers, televisions, radios arouses the public’s interest and motivates the young generation to join the army and fight for the nation. However, there are artists who look at war in its very naked form. For example the poet Wilfred Owen in his poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est” demonstrates that no sweetness or honor is earned in dying for one’s country, instead humanity is taken away during war.
In the first stanza Owen uses strong metaphors and similes to convey a meaningful warning. The first line, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks”, describes the soldiers tremendous exhaustion. They have been brought down to a beggar’s level and are being compared to low society. To reinforce this the speaker says, “And towards our distant rest began to trudge” (3). Everything seemed farther and so the troops desire for relaxation and peace. Owen uses metaphors:”Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots/But limped on, blood-shod” (5-6). This shows how men have been on their feet for days are walking on blood. The metaphor suggests that the men are so fatigued that they have lost their senses. To highlight this he says, “All went lame; all blind; /Drunk with fatigue; even to the hoots” (6-7). This demonstrates that the men have lost their human senses and dignity.
The second stanza demonstrates no sweetness is present, only suffocation: “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling” (9). The soldiers are undergoing madness and are experiencing a gas shell attack. Owen uses a very powerful simile: “But someone still was yelling out and stumbling/ And flound’ ring like a man in fire or lime” (11-12). This is a personal experience of the speaker and the simile describes exactly what he wants to convey, (poisonous gas burns). Owen is portraying war as astoundingly disgusting, ” As under a green sea, I saw him drowning” (14). He believes that no human being should endure suffering, by fighting and getting tormented is the same as dishonoring men. The words that Owen uses creates a agonizing image.
The next stanza only has two lines; this is because there is a shift from reality on the battlefield to the nightmare....

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