Dulce Et Decorum Est

Page 1/2
“Dulce et Decorum Est”

The war poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” was written by a World War 1 soldier, Second Lieutenant Wilfred Edward Salter Owen. The poem shows the reader what the soldiers had to endure during the war both emotionally and physically and creates many emotions in the reader such as sympathy, pity and anger. These are created and emphasised through the vivid and graphic description of a gas attack on a group of soldiers.

Pity is created in the first stanza as Owen describes the poor state of the men and the terrible transformation brought by their service in the war. “Bent Double, like old beggars under sacks,”
is a simile, which shows the men to be physically and mentally aged and damaged. “Old beggars” presents the image of the soldiers being poor, helpless and desperate, as well as old. This description of stereotypical elderly features is repeated throughout the first stanza, the men are described as “Blind”, “Lame” and “Limped”. The men have lost their childhood and possibly their innocence. Pity is also created further into the stanza “And towards out distant rest began to trudge.”.   “Distant rest”, in its lighter terms, means a bed in a safe area where they might shake their fatigue. However it is actually foreshadowing the men’s brutal and horrible death, as “distant” may refer to the afterlife and how far away it is, and “rest” for obvious reasons, refers to death. This is also shown in the phrase “Men marched asleep.” The shortness of the sentence may indicate how much time the men have to live, while “asleep” also shows fatigue and poor physical conditions.   The men may already be dead, metaphorically, which links in with “rest”. “Trudge” is also used to emphasise the conditions the men had to walk in. The word “walked”, or “strolled”, may have been used but Owen used “trudge” to show the soil and how difficult it is move on, especially with damaged limbs, fatigue and possibly, your best friends blood covering you. These lines...