Dulche Et Decorum Est

How does Owen create a shocking and realistic account of the experience of war in his poem Dulce Et Decorum Est?

In his poem ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’, Wilfred Owen recreates the horror of war through his shocking and realistic account of the experiences faced by soldiers on the battlefields during World War One. To Owen, war is not sweet, nor is it honourable, and these ideas are explored throughout the poem. The poem includes an underlying message that explores the true horror of war and the propaganda that people on the home front were being fed to support the war effort. Owens realistic account of the war also conveys a sense of horror as we become aware of the gas attack taking place whilst the soldiers are physically and mentally exhausted. Through his uses of techniques, such as simile or imagery, Owen is able to convey the true experience of war.

Owen uses visual imagery and similes to convey to the audience that war is not sweet, nor is it honourable. Visual imagery is used to display the brutality of war, and it is the words Owen chooses that gets this idea across, words such as ‘limped on, blood-shod, choking’. This gives the audience an insight into what war is really like, because it is coming from someone who absolutely experienced it himself, and that war isn’t what everyone makes it out to be back home. The descriptive language that Owen uses is highly effective in giving the responder a visual image of how disturbing war is.

In the simile ‘Bent double like old beggars under sacks’, Owen uses powerful imagery to convey the responder that the soldiers are slouched and exhausted, as well as battered and weathered. He gives the idea that war people are weathered and desperate, and are in need of assistance. He conveys the notion that they have nothing else to lose, because they literally have nothing. The first stanza is spoken in first person, with Owen putting himself and his fellow soldiers first as they labor through the sludge of the...