Homeworks academic service


War and the pity of war in dulce et decorum est by wilfred owen

He was 24 years old. A year later he was killed in action, just one week before the Armistice of 11 November 1918 was signed to signal the end of hostilities.

The poem was published posthumously in a 1920 book simply called Poems. Wilfred Owen's preface reads: My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity. In his poem, Wilfred Owen takes the opposite stance. He is, in effect, saying that it is anything but sweet and proper to die for one's country in a hideous war that took the lives of over 17 million people.

This poem, written by a young soldier recovering from his wounds who was brave enough to return to the battlefield, still resonates today with its brutal language and imagery. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod.

All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

Stanza-by-Stanza Analysis First Stanza The first line takes the reader straight into the ranks of the soldiers, an unusual opening, only we're told they resemble "old beggars" and "hags" note the similes by the speaker, who is actually in amongst this sick and motley crew.

The initial rhythm is slightly broken iambic pentameter until line five when commas and semi-colons and other punctuation reflect the disjointed efforts of the men to keep pace. Also note the term "blood-shod" which suggests a parallel with horses, and the fact that many are lame, drunk, blind and deaf.

Analysis of Poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen

The trauma of war has intoxicated the soldiers. Second Stanza Suddenly the call goes up: He's too slow to don his gas mask and helmet, which would have saved his life by filtering out the toxins. The ecstasy is used here in the sense of a trance-like frenzy as the men hurriedly put on their helmets. It has nothing to do with happiness. Here the poem becomes personal and metaphorical.

The speaker sees the man consumed by gas as a drowning man, as if he were underwater. Misty panes add an unreal element to this traumatic scene, as though the speaker is looking through a window. Third Stanza Only two lines long, this stanza brings home the personal effect of the scene on the speaker.

The image sears through and scars despite the dream-like atmosphere created by the green gas and the floundering soldier. Owen chose the word "guttering" to describe the tears streaming down the face of the unfortunate man, a symptom of inhaling toxic gas. Fourth Stanza The speaker widens the issue by confronting the reader and especially the people at home, far away from the warsuggesting that if they too could experience what he had witnessed, they would not be so quick to praise those who die in action.

They would be lying to future generations if they though that death on the battlefield was sweet. Owen does not hold back. His vivid imagery is quite shocking, his message direct and his conclusion sincere. The last four lines are thought to have been addressed to a Jessie Pope, a children's writer and journalist at the time, whose published book Jessie Pope's War Poems included a poem titled The Callan encouragement for young men to enlist and fight in the war.

The main themes of this poem are listed below: War One of the main themes of this poem is war. It deals with a soldier's experience in World War I, and contrasts the realities of war with the glorified notion of what serving in a war is like. Propaganda This poem takes aim at the idea of war presented by war-supporting propaganda. During World War I, propaganda came in the form of books, poems, posters, movies, radio and more, and presented an idea of war full of glory and pride rather than of death and destruction.

Politics Politics are often the cause war, yet it is the men who have nothing to do with politics who are recruited to fight it. This poem underlines the wrongness of this dynamic.

Hero Worship Everyone wants to be the hero. In reality, it is the man who keeps his head down is he who survives the longest. Patriotism "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," means it is sweet and proper to die for one's country. Once they realized the horrors that awaited them, however, this ideal patriotism was rightly viewed as ridiculous. Lessons Learned From the Past Owen highlights this Latin phrase to show how antiquated and wrong it is when applied to the modern age.

Through his work, which entirely destroys the idea that it is sweet and proper to die for one's country, he hopes to make readers realize that times have changed—that while war may have once been glorious, now, war is hell. Owen must have decided against it as he worked on the draft, ending up with four unequal stanzas. The opening lines contain words such as bent, beggars, sacks, hags, cursed, haunting, trudge.

This war and the pity of war in dulce et decorum est by wilfred owen the language of poverty and deprivation, hardly suitable for the glory of the battlefield where heroes are said to be found.

Yet this is precisely what the poet intended. Figurative language fights with literal language. This is no ordinary march.

Most seem asleep, from exhaustion no doubt, suggesting that a dream world isn't too far distant—a dream world very unlike the resting place they're headed for. The second stanza's first line brings the reader directly in touch with the unfolding drama and, although these are soldiers, men as well as old beggars and hagsthe simple word "boys" seems to put everything into perspective. Aside from the the structure, which is discussed above, Owen strategically uses assonance, alliteration, and iambic pentameter to transmit the dirty and dark feelings felt on the battlefield.

Assonance It is important to note the poet's use of internal, line-by-line assonance. Alliteration Alliteration also occurs in lines five, eleven and nineteen: Many had lost their boots Line 11: But someone still was yelling out and stumbling Line 19: And watch the white eyes writhing in his face Iambic Pentameter The iambic pentameter is dominant, but occasional lines break with this rhythm, such as line sixteen in the third stanza. This inconsistency reflects the strangeness of the situation.

Iambic pentameter is used in the following instances: Whatever you think a devil looks like, this is one that has gone beyond the pale. The suggestion is that the blood coming up from the lungs has to be chewed by the poor dying man. This line is very similar to the first line of Owen's poem "Anthem For Doomed Youth," which reads, "What passing bells for these who die as cattle? These are often displayed in Latin which was, of course, the language of the ancient Romans.

These are the trenches of WWI, full of mud and death. Once optimistic, healthy soldiers have now been reduced to a miserable, exhausted gang who have little left to give. It's a shocking environment into which the reader is taken—one that is oppressive, dangerous and without any real hope. The poet wants the reader to know that warfare is anything but glorious, so he paints a gloomy, realistic, human picture of life at the frontline.

He leaves us no doubt about his feelings. The tone and mood is also set by language such as "misty panes and thick green light. This is not a lively green, but a thick green. The window is not clear, but misty. This is the land of the walking dead, of the sickly—a world cold, muddy and metallic.

By the end of the poem, it appears the reader has been moved away from the "haunting" battlefield, and the setting becomes internal.

Here, the mood is less gruesome, but no less pitiful. In one sense, to see the way these scenes of death and violence have affected the poets mind is just as disturbing as the scenes themselves. The opening scene is one of a group of soldiers making their weary way from the frontline "towards our distant rest" as bombs drop and lethal gas is released.

Details are intimate and immediate, taking the reader right into the thick of trench war. These men appear old, but that is only an illusion. War has twisted reality which gradually turns surreal as the poem progresses. The speaker evokes a dream-like scenario, the green of the enveloping gas turning his mind to another element, that of water, and the cruel sea in which a man is drowning. The descriptions become more intense as the drowning man is disposed of on a cart.

All the speaker can do is compare the suffering to a disease with no known cure.

  • Primarily, he focuses on the human body and the way it is slowly damaged and changed before ultimately being destroyed;
  • He is, in effect, saying that it is anything but sweet and proper to die for one's country in a hideous war that took the lives of over 17 million people;
  • All the speaker can do is compare the suffering to a disease with no known cure;
  • Wilfred Owen's preface reads;
  • This poem, written by a young soldier recovering from his wounds who was brave enough to return to the battlefield, still resonates today with its brutal language and imagery.

The final image - sores on a tongue - hints at what the dying soldier himself might have said about the war and the idea of a glorious death. There are three overarching symbols that strengthen the impact of "Dulce et Decorum Est. Primarily, he focuses on the human body and the way it is slowly damaged and changed before ultimately being destroyed.

We see the symbol of disfiguration in the first stanza, when the poet reports on the state of his fellow men: Lines 1—3 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs Lines 5—7 Men marched asleep.

All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots By looking closely at the language used in the above lines, the symbol of disfiguration becomes clear.

The men are no longer the men the used to be. They are shadows of their former selves: Allusion As we can see by the title and last line of this poem, one of the main symbols is allusion in this instance, an allusion to Horace's Latin phrase.

The allusion points to the idea that fighting and dying for your country is glorious. After making this allusion, the poet devotes all of his efforts to proving it wrong.

Learn more

The devil is also alluded to in line 20, indicating the badness of the battlefield. Owen presents the scenes of war as a nightmare with their greenish color and mistiness. Also, the terrifying imagery adds to the feeling of a bad dream.

This symbol indicates that the horrors of war are almost too hard to comprehend.