Monday, January 23, 2012

analysis of dulche et decorum est

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Dulce Et decorum Est

The first poem I chose to compare is Dulce Et Decorum Est which is written by Wilfred Owen. It is 8 lines long and has an obvious rhyming scheme (every other line rhymes) Owen gives us a detailed picture of the war by the way he talks in the first person. The poem was written during First World War and shows the problems faced by many of the young and hard fighting men during this dark time in history. The main point Wilfred Owen tries to convey in this poem is the sheer horror of war. Owen uses many techniques to show his feelings.

Wifred Owen was a soldier on the Western front who fought through the war from 114 until 118 when he died a week before the war ended. This shows that he had great knowledge of war and this is shown in the poem. In his poems he blame the old British way of dying for your country in honor for the damage done by the First World War to a generation lost.

In the opening stanza you get a very different image of the soldiers from what you might expect from the title. One thinks of soldiers as smart, proud, marching, and fighting, but Owen’s picture is based on his personal experience of the battlefield. The soldiers are completely demoralised and have no proud ness or dignity in the way they move. ‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge’

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Owen presents the reader with details of imagery which creates a picture of the harshness men went through compared to the glory of what it should have been Wilfred Owen increases the effect of the interpretation of the soldiers by repeating himself. ‘Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots but limped on, blood-shod .All went lame; all blind; drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind ’(The last line in that quote shows that a division in the upcoming attack has dropped behind and fallen out of rank.)

The second stanza is very active and frantic in comparison. The first stanza shows the unbearable boredom and misery of the battle. However at the start of the second stanza Owen creates an environment common to the war where the men could suddenly be slaughtered instantly. ‘GAS! Gas! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; but someone still was yelling out and stumbling and floundering a man in fire or lime.’

However even a scene where chocking to death is created the author is reassured by the safety of the men by the fitting of the soldiers gas masks. This feeling of being reassured quickly goes with one man dying of the deadly gas. This is not a glorious death. By using imagery Owen gives the reader the feelings of horror and disgust that he wants them to feel at the sight of the sight of the soldier poisoned by gas

‘In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.’ This not only shows how the soldier is suffering, but that he is in terrible pain. Owen shows the pain by the soldier’s life flickering away.

In Owen’s third stanza death in dying for ones country is presented as the opposite of the stereotypical gloriousness that is known at the time. ‘…The white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devils sick of sin’

During this part of the poem Wilfred uses mass imagery as possible to create and image of blood and gore ‘The blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues’.

During this man’s death Owen tries to make it feel is as if you are reliving his torture. He also uses other metaphoric tools to describe the injuries inflicted on the man such as the invisibleness of cancer and the pain and sight of vile.

Wilfred ends his poem by displaying his opinion the view on war by rejecting the feeling of glory at the time by stating bluntly that; war is a waste and a massacre of human life.

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