Essay on Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est

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Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est

Through poems with blazing guns, spurting blood, and screaming agony, Wilfred Owen justly deserves the label, applied by critics, of war poet. Some critics, like W.B. Yeats who said, “I consider [Wilfred Owen] unworthy of the poets corner of a country news paper,” (362) satisfy themselves with this label and argue Owen lacked the artistic merit to be given much attention beyond it. However, many other Owen critics like David Daiches interest themselves in trying to identify what unique perspectives Owen’s poems present and why those perspectives captivate so many people. Daiches argues that Owen engages so many readers because “he penetrates into the inner reality” (363) of the war experience. He
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This was one reason for Roman hostility to them, as barbarians deserved repression. Their rituals were performed in wooden shrines and in sanctuaries among the forests, with grotesque carved images of gods. Victims were put to death by several methods. They were stabbed, or shot at with arrows, or plunged head-downwards into tubs full of water, or shut into huge wicker cages in human shape, which were set alight. (123)

Also on druidic sacrifice, Peter Ellis writes in his book The Druids:“On great occasions [. . .] after plunging a dagger into him [the sacrificial man], they [the Druids] read the future from the manner of his fall and the twitching of his limbs and the flow of blood” (145). With these historical accounts in hand it becomes possible to understand hidden archaic realities within Owen’s text.

While it is understood that the poem recounts the activities of World War I soldiers moving under orders near the front lines in France, the words used to describe this action evoke an image of a strange, fearful, eerie, and occult procession moving with an attitude of helplessness akin to the horrors which necessarily entrap the designated victims of a human sacrifice. These images of imminent doom start in the first stanza and pervade the remainder of the poem.

Initially the poem demonstrates
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