Dulce Et Decorum Est

Dulce et Decorum est Sample Essay   (this is a little longer than I would necessarily expect yours to be but it is better to prepare more than you need just in case of stage fright)

The poem ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ by Wilfred Owen is a shocking and thought provoking poem which details the experiences of soldiers in the trenches during WW1.   Owen uses graphic descriptions of life in the trenches to convey a powerful message to the reader. (reference to first part of question) He uses his poetry as a vehicle to express his ideas on the horror and futility of war.   Throughout the course of this essay I will explore the techniques used by Owen to illustrate that the notion of it being ‘sweet and fitting’ to die for your country is untrue. (reference to second part of question)
The reader is introduced to the horror of war in the first lines of the poem as Owen depicts the poor physical condition of the men, “bent double, like old beggars under sacks”.   This simile demonstrates how dirty and unhealthy the soldiers appear.   The comparison to ‘old beggars’ is interesting because it highlights how the men have been aged prematurely by their experiences.   The contrast here is startling as soldiers are usually seen to be young and energetic.

In addition to this, Owen also uses imagery to make comments on the terrible mental effects that the war has on the men , “drunk with fatigue”.   This helps convey the exhaustion that the men have to endure and throws into sharp relief the hardships and suffering of the men.   The use of this metaphor is significant because the extreme tiredness of the men is being compared to the effects of alcohol, suggesting that the men are exhibiting a lack of coordination and awareness of their surroundings.

Another way in which Owen seeks to illustrate the horrors of war is through his description of the men’s emotional state, “towards our distant rest began to trudge”.   This suggests that not only are the men very tired but they are weary...