Poetry:Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
DulceEt Decorum Estby Wilfred Owen is one of the greatest works of poetry focusing onthe nature and impacts of the World War I. As a soldier, Owendirected the intense of personal experience into poetry purposely toreveal the moral, social, psychological and physical trauma of war.In DulceEt Decorum Est,Owen develops a strong description of war to clearly reveal thatsoldiers’ deaths in war are wrongly glorified.
ThematicConcerns in the Poem.
Thereare several themes evident in the poem including war, cruelty, andsuffering. In the first stanza, Owen introduces war through hisdescription of soldiers’ sick, restless and sleepless life. Heexplains how they, “like old beggars under sacks” “matchedasleep” to evade the bombs (shells) that were dropping behind them(Owen 18). Such explanation helps understand how soldiers at warendure the wrath of the enemies in unending struggles.
Inthe second stanza, the image of war, especially with a vividdescription of the gas-attacked soldiers, is horrific. It is in thisinstance that readers of the poem learn the cruelty and sufferingsoldiers undergo in the battle fronts. For instance, Owen describesthe soldier’s suffering like that of “a man in fire or lime” togive a clear image of both cruelty and suffering in the mustard gasattack.
Additionally,in the third stanza, Owen describes further the cruelty and sufferingthrough his detailed anatomical damage (disfigurement) including the“white eyes writhing in his face”, gargling from thefroth-corrupted lungs” and “sores on the innocent tongues”(Owen 18). Through such description, Owen shapes the reader’sperception and emotional stand to support his idea that there is noglory in war.
Finally,there is a theme of patriotism (Ağir 212). Although Owendemonstrates dedication in denouncing the war in this work of poetry,the endurance, determination, and unending struggle reveal howpatriotic these soldiers are to their mother country.
TheStyle Elements of Poetry.
Owenuses several stylistic interventions to effectively shape up thereader’s understanding in support to his idea that the glory of waris an “old lie”. One such element widely used in the poem isimagery (Ağir 217). The first line contains “like old beggarsunder sacks” which a strong simile is revealing the struggle ofsoldiers whose dignity and health has deteriorated. Similarly, Heexplains the suffering of the soldier who got in contact with themustard gas to be “like of a man in fire or lime.” Furthermore,Own uses metaphor when he says “deaf even to the hoot” to revealsthe soldiers’ physical exhaustion.
Variationas a poetry element is also evident in the poem due to the varyinglength of stanzas. The first stanza has eight lines while the secondand third stanzas have six and two lines respectively. Such variationin Owen’s poem is intended to reveal the unpredictable events ofdangers and strains occurring in soldier’s life in the battlefield(Ağir 214). Moreover, the variation from “We” to “I|”through “you” in his narration tend to engage and involve thereader more and compel them to take a side, probably his side,regarding war.
Repetitionis present in the poem for example in the second stanza where theauthor reveals the impacts of the gas attack on the soldiers. The useof fumbling, stumbling, floundering and drowning not only givesrhyming effects but also put emphasis on the struggle and sufferingthe dying victims of gas attack experienced. Finally, there is theuse of irony and sarcasm at the last stanza where Owen used “myfriend” to mock the belief that war brings glory.
Inbrief, Owen exhibits great skills and knowledge in his use ofelements, styles and the structure of the poem. Consequently, hisideas and arguments are comprehensible to readers especially withcareful consideration of evident thematic concerns. Although manyholds that war brings peace and glory to a country, Owen argues onthe contrary by revealing cruelty and suffering soldiers endure inthe name of patriotism.
Ağir,A. Bariç. "The Death Of Patriotism: Wilfred Owen`s Dulce EtDecorum Est As An Anti-War Manifesto." JournalOf History, Culture & Art Research / Tarih Kültür Ve SanatArastirmalari Dergisi2.2 (2013): 212-220. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Sept. 2016.
Owen,Wilfred. "Dulce Et Decorum Est." SocialEducation78.1 (2014): 18. AcademicSearch Premier.Web. 10 Sept. 2016