Dulce Et Decorum Es
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An Analysis of “Dulce et Decorum Est”
Dolce et Decorum Est is the product of Wilfred Owens frustration, not only against those who repeat the old lie “Dulce et Decorum Est”, in other words, it is sweet and right to die for your country, but also against a certain kind of poetry. Through his poem, Owen who himself took part in World War 1, has no difficulty to convince us that the horrors that took place at this moment far outweighs the idea of those who encourage war. In this essay, I will approach the symbolic significance of the poem by analysing each stanza.
In the first stanza, Owen sets the scene. This stanza contains a lot of simile and metaphors that shows us how crushed these men are, physically and mentally. Soldiers are turning their back to the lights of the battle field “Till on the haunting flares we turned ours backs”. Exhausted, their knees are touching “knock-kneed”, tired of supporting their heavy backpack “like old beggars under sacks”. The condition of the poor soldiers is so miserable that the author compare them to “old beggars” and “hags” (ugly old woman). Some men had lost their boots and the only shoes they have is the blood on their feet “blood-shod”. They are walking painfully, not even hearing the noise made by the shells rushing through the air “deaf even to the hoots”. Then, little bye little, soldiers struggle away from the battle field, shells now falling behind “Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind”.
In the second stanza, the author is focusing on one man who, because of stress and fatigue was not able to put his gas mask in time. The author describe the pain of this poor man throughout a big underwater metaphor: “floundring”, “green sea”, “drowning” and “plunges”, in the third stanza. Plugged by the glass in the eyepieces of the gas masks and the green light (chlorine gas) “Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light”, Owen can see his comrade succumbing to the poison gas.
In the third stanza, our speaker compare the scene to a nightmare. Owen will never forget the images of his friend, dying: “plunges at me”, “my helpless sight”. Dismayed, Owen cant do anything to help his friend. In line 16, by guttering, the speaker was probably referring