"Dulce et Decorum est" by Wilfred Owen

Essay by Scorpio797rulz March 2004

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Dulce Et Decorum Est:

Reality "Dulce et Decorum Est," an anti-war poem by Wilfred Owen, ( ) conveys a strong meaning and persuasive argument. The anti-war theme and serious tone is extremely effective at portraying war as horrid and devastating. Upon my initial reading of this poem I felt overpowered by blood, guts and death. Although my reaction hasn't changed much through numerous readings, my emotional reaction becomes more intense with each reading. This poem makes me feel like I am right there watching the soldier who cannot fasten his mask fast enough and suffers the full effects of deadly gas. This poem also makes me look beyond the death and question the pain inflicted on the mothers who kissed their sons goodbye as they went to defend their country. I imagine the mother receiving word her son has died and is told how noble and patriotic his death was.

In his last moments, the soldier and his family become victims of "The old lie" (610). The precise dictation, vivid comparisons and graphic imagery are the three major elements that influenced my reaction to this poem. Through the precise dictation, I could clearly understand what the author is saying. Words like "guttering", "choking", and "drowning" jumped out at me and made my body shiver (610). Other words like "writhing" and "froth-corrupted" made me understand just how tragic war is. Not only do these words show how this man is suffering, but also they show precisely the level of pain and torment this man must endure. The fact that the gassed man was "flung" into the wagon convinced me that it is not "sweet" nor "fitting to die for one's country" (610). The author's use of dictation was extremely effective in convincing me of just tragic and pointless...