Dulce et Decorum Est Essay

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Dulce et Decorum Est

In Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” the speaker’s argument against whether there is true honor in dieing for ones country in World War I contradicts the old Latin saying, Dulce et Decorum Est, which translated means, “it is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland”; which is exemplified through Owen’s use of title, diction, metaphor and simile, imagery, and structure throughout the entirety of the poem.

The first device used by Owen in the poem is without a doubt the title, in which he uses to establish the opposing side of the argument in the poem. The poem is titled, “Dulce et Decorum Est”, which comes from Horace’s Odes, book three, line 13, and translated into English to mean: “It is sweet
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The men were also “Drunk with fatigue” because they never had time to rest from the fighting and marching, and this metaphor makes it apparent that the men are so tired they are actually stumbling and staggering to continue much like someone who is inebriated would (7). The speaker goes on to use a simile to describe a man who did not get his gas mask on fast enough and now he “was yelling out and stumbling / And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime” because the gas was melting his insides and was acting much like a fish out of water would, suffering from excruciating pain (11-12). The speaker further describes the man suffering because of the gas, while he himself had his mask on fast enough, “As under a green sea, I saw him drowning” (14). When the speaker uses this simile describing the man drowning under the green sea, he is actually referring to the man literally drowning in his own blood because the sea of green gas had melted his lungs causing him to choke and die on his own blood. It is evident that the similes and metaphors the speaker is using to describe the soldiers and the entire situation of the war he is stuck within are becoming more and more gut-wrenching, and the speaker’s tone becomes more and more corrective and angry. The
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