Critical Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce Et Decorum Est” Essay

1168 Words Nov 24th, 2011 5 Pages
Critical Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est”, is a powerful poem with graphical lifelike images on the reality of war. It is blatantly apparent that the author was a soldier who experienced some of the most gruesome images of war. His choice of words, diction, tone, syntax, and metaphor’s paint a vivid picture in a brilliant poem. His choice for the poem’s name is ironical in itself. The entire phrase is “Dulce et Decorum Est Pro patria mori”, which basically translates to “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”. This was a common theme told to young soldiers during the First World War. The phrase itself came from a Roman poet named Horace. The argumentative claim …show more content…
Wilfred Owen utilizes informal diction within this poem, his choice of words and jargon is keenly apparent with readers of military knowledge and experience. His use of syntax and tone distinctly put the reader in the middle of crisis: Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – As ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, (Meyer 886)
These few lines completely change the feeling of following battle weary soldiers marching to the rear, to complete chaos of the moment. The reader can feel the adrenaline rush through them as they picture young soldiers donning their chemical warfare gear while under attack. This gives the readers the impression of panic and urgency, even though they were exhausted. Equipping their gear “clumsy” distinguishes that the soldiers cannot put their gear on quick enough, helps to portray the urgency of the moment.
Wilfred Owen leaves nothing to the imagination of the reader. He clearly explains that war is not “sweet” and shows the graphic nature instead by painting a gruesome display of death. He explicitly demonstrates through vivid images and carefully chosen words to articulate the horrors of war:
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs (Meyer 887)
The reader receives a distinct mental image of one of the soldiers dying a slow and painful horrible death. These words
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