Analysis of Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Essay

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Analysis of Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

In the poem, Dulce et Decorum Est written by Wilfred Owen, the speaker appears to be a soldier in the army, warning young people eager for war, “children ardent for some desperate glory,” that war is not what it seems. The soldier explains to the reader through first hand experience that fighting for one’s country is not as glorious a task as it may appear to be. One shouldn’t believe the lie that is told about how it is sweet and proper to die for one’s country. The poem takes place during a war, while the men are marching and death surrounds them. Throughout the length of the poem, the speaker has a morose tone, as anyone witnessing so much
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Despite the change in length of the stanza at the end, every other line continues to rhyme, giving the poem a rhyming scheme of ababcdcd. Overall, the poem can be classified as a narrative iambic pentameter. The poem begins by setting up the context; tired and hungry soldiers marching on towards a resting point somewhere in the distance. Many of the men march half-asleep, while others are missing boots, bleeding, or limping, but all tired. All of a sudden, the poem changes from past tense to present tense. The soldiers are no longer generalized as a group. A first person point of view is introduced as there are gas shells falling and everyone is alerted. Despite this the weary soldiers are still fumbling around, as if woken from a deep slumber. While most of the men strap on their helmets or what seems to be gas masks, one does not get it in time and he slowly dies. The man’s death greatly affects the speaker, and now this haunts him. This dead man is now flung into a wagon, and the whites of his eyes are seen. There is blood dripping from his mouth, tasting bitter. The narrator of the poem now warns children that if they were here, they would not believe the lie that it is great to fight for your country.

Wilfred Owen employs sensory language throughout the poem. Words such as “knock-kneed,” “blood-shod,”
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