Dulce et Decorum Est . By: Wilfred Owen. Authors Biography. Owen was born on March 18, 1893. On October 21 st , 1915 he enlisted himself to become a soldier due to peer pressure. He served in the British army during WWI. He was an English poet. Owen is considered one of the top WWI poets.
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By: Wilfred Owen
Place of death
(not to be confused with ballad)
For example words that show ugliness, fear, and pain:
Words that show his own feelings & contrasts it the way war has been presented:
- corrupted can be argued that the young men were corrupted into fighting in the war and killing others.
- referring to old people, and it was difficult to move through the mud.
“Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, / Knock-kneed, coughing like hags”.
-The thick greenish glass of the gas mask, and the greenish fumes of the gas make the narrator feel that he was viewing an underwater scene.
-Expresses the burning and the pain caused by the mustard gas when it comes into contact with their skin, eyes and mucous membranes.
- If a devil becomes sick of sin, he is questioning everything that has been seen as value, and realizes his whole life has been for nothing, perhaps Owen is implying that in the same way, the dying soldier is questioning everything he has been told about the sweetness of dying for a cause.
- The soldiers are being led to slaughter like helpless animals, where the dying soldier is being treated more like an animal carcass than like a human being, not from cruelty, but because nothing else could have been done in that situation.
- The use of alliteration adds to the insistent tone of the poem.
- He says this so that it is impossible to turn away and think of other things.
Dulce et Decorum Est is a poem written by English poet and World War I soldier Wilfred Owen in 1917, and was published posthumously in 1920. From 1913 to 1915 he worked as a language tutor in France. He felt pressured by the propaganda to become a soldier and volunteered on 21st October 1915. He spent the last day of 1916 in a tent in France joining the Second Manchester's. During war he was blown up, concussed and suffered shell-shock. On 4th November he was shot and killed near the village of Ors. He is known to be the greatest war poet who had written in the English language. Owen's poem is known for the condemnation of war. His poem was the best known poem of the First World War. Lines 1 and 2 Owen talks about how they are like “old beggars” and are “coughing like hags” he is saying that they feel old and since they are soldiers that are young and fit, for Owen to describe them in those terms must have meant that they were really tired. In lines 3 and 4 the soldiers turned away from the lights and noise of the war and headed back in the direction of their camp. In line 4 he used “trudge” to emphasize that it was really difficult moving because of the mud like if it had rained. Line 5 he explains how they are so tired they are barley conscious enough to walk.
In the second stanza he indicates that there had been shells which had landed near them , didn’t explode but started letting out poison gas, which happened to be mustard gas and also describes how one man wasn’t able to get his mask on before he started to inhale the poisonous gas, he writes how he saw the man suffering as if he couldn’t swim and started gulping in water, and eventually drowning. In lines 15 and 16 he is half talking about the present, and half about the his past. He is remembering the man who died slowly and painfully in front of him, and also his post-traumatic flashbacks to this moment. In lines 17 and 18 he is saying that no one can actually try to understand how they felt, it was one of those moment were you just had to be there, the best someone can do is experience the nightmare at a distance. Line 19 is a use of alliteration and assonance with the “w” and “I” sounds. The line “like a devils sick of sin” is kind of twisting because if the devil lives to sin, saying he is sick of it is saying that there is no longer a purpose for his existence. In the last 4 lines Owen is calling out propaganda artists, and poets that urged people into war, in particular Owen Seaman who wrote “Pro patria”, explaining that before the war young men had the anticipation of excitement for the first battle, the shock of the WWI was how miserable war and death really was, which is referring to “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.” Perhaps then the mustard gas can be seen as a reflection of the poison of the war itself.
1. When was the Owen born?
2. Who made a great impact in Owen’s life?
3. Which war is his poem based on?
4. What does the poem title translate to?
a) “It’s sweet and wrong..”
b) “It’s sweet and right..”
c) “It’s sweet and dark..”
d) “It’s sweet and harsh..”
5. What kind of tone does this poem have? Why?
6. How many stanzas does this poem have?
7. In the begging of the poem who are the soldiers being compared to?
8. How many guys were affected in the poem by the poisonous gas used in the war?
9. What kind of gas was exposed to the soldiers?
a) chlorine gas
c) body gas
d) none of the above
10. Provide one simile from the poem.