Use of Imagery and Metaphor in Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est

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Use of Imagery and Metaphor in Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est

Through vivid imagery and compelling metaphors "Dulce et Decorum Est" gives the reader the exact feeling the author wanted. The poem is an anti-war poem by Wilfred Owen and makes great use of these devices. This poem is very effective because of its excellent manipulation of the mechanical and emotional parts of poetry. Owen's use of exact diction and vivid figurative language emphasizes his point, showing that war is terrible and devastating. Furthermore, the utilization of extremely graphic imagery adds even more to his argument. Through the effective use of all three of these tools, this poem conveys a strong meaning and persuasive argument.

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This technique serves to emphasize the solemn and serious content. In stanza one, Owen describes the soldiers as they set off towards the army base from the front line. The simile "Bent double, like old beggars"(1) not only says that they are tired, but that they are so tired they have been brought down to the level of beggars who have not slept in a bed for weeks on end. Also, the simile "coughing like hags"(2) helps to depict the soldiers? poor health and depressed state of mind. Owen makes us picture the soldiers as ill, disturbed and utterly exhausted. He shows that this is not the government-projected stereotype of a soldier, in gleaming boots and crisp new uniform, but is the true illustration of the poor mental and physical state of the soldiers. By telling us that many of the platoon are barefoot, Owen gives us an idea of how awful the soldiers? journey already is; it then gets even worse. Owen tells us that the soldiers, although they must have been trained, still do not notice the deadly mustard gas shells being fired at them from behind; such is the extent of their exhaustion.

In the second stanza, the pace of the narrative is increased. Owen describes the flurry of activity that takes place when it dawns on the platoon that they have the hazard of gas to deal with. He begins by writing "Gas, GAS!"(9), which instantly grabs the attention of the reader, and by writing it
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