Sunday, September 22, 2019

The important issue of war is Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Essay Example for Free

The important issue of war is Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Essay Choose a poem which deals with an important issue such as war poverty or racism. Explain how the poet deepens out understanding of the issue by the choice of content and the skilful use of poetic techniques. A poem which deals with the important issue of war is â€Å"Dulce et Decorum Est† by Wilfred Owen. The poet first went to the war on 30th of December 1916. He had already completed his military training and sailed for France. Nothing had fully prepared Owen for the shock and suffering of his front line experience. I have said that he went to the war, because if we know this, we would understand better why this poem seems so real as it reflects the brutal reality and the atmosphere of wars. In the first stanza, Owen gives a vicious and desperate image of war. He conveys this by describing the dreadful conditions of soldiers at war and sets a weary tone: â€Å"Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge† This horrendous description of the soldiers makes us feel almost pitiful towards the. The word â€Å"beggars† has connotations of desperation and lack of dignity suggesting that the soldiers are stark contrast to the brave valiant image of soldiers that we have. These soldiers are forgotten and are almost like outcasts of society and this is described here. The poet uses similes such as â€Å"coughing like hags† to emphasise their pitiful and unwell state. The use of â€Å"cursed† as a verb here suggests that they are worn down from the constant battle and they are regretting being there. This helps us to understand the issue of war by highlighting the appalling conditions of soldiers at war. The reader is given a very fatigued and desperate image of the soldiers. Owen uses enjambment to emphasise the weariness of the soldiers: â€Å"All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind† Owen shows how these mens senses had been numbed by the ghastly occurrences in the trenches and how these numbed senses cause the men to not realise they are under attack until it is almost too late. He uses metaphors to emphasise how tired they are and they cannot even hear the shells which is surprising as we would expect the bombs to be fairly loud. He uses the transferred epithet of â€Å"tired, outstripped Five-Nines† to show how the war is so draining and everyone is tired of the war. The images in this sentence help us to understand the feeling of being at war and show the arduous environment of the soldiers. In the next stanza there is as rapid change from the tired tone of the first stanza to one of panic. Owen uses minor sentences to change the pace: â€Å"Gas! Gas! Quick, boys – An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time† Suddenly every one springs to life and the scene is chaotic. Owen emphasises this by using the minor sentences in succession giving a dramatic change of atmosphere. A sense of immediacy and urgency is evident here and the transferred epithet of â€Å"clumsy helmets† shows that in the sudden rush even the helmets seem clumsy. Furthermore, there is a change in rhythm from the iambic pentameter of the first stanza into one of chaos almost symbolising the atmosphere of the trench. Our understanding of the urgency of war is deepened here and the reader is given insight into how risky the soldiers lives are. The poet uses imagery to illustrate his memories. The man being choked to death by the gas is almost in slow motion as the event happen: â€Å"But someone still was yelling out and stumbling As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.† This whole sequence of events is described by Owen in great detail showing that the images of the man’s pain seem fresh in Owen’s mind showing and that they have emotionally scarred him and he will never be able to forget seeing this soldier dying. The word â€Å"someone† shows the anonymity of the soldiers and emphasises how many soldiers are simply forgotten. â€Å"But† shows that not everyone was able to fit their helmet in time and the soldier was too late and is seen only through the green sea of mustard gas, yelling stumblingdrowninggutteringchoking. The word order of â€Å"someone still was† is changed to highlight the chaos of the situation. The reader is shown how horrendous deaths in the war can be and how scarring the effect of seeing someone’s slow death can be on a person. The third stanza is written in present tense to show the effect that the soldiers death has had on Owen. The stanza almost has a nightmarish quality: â€Å"In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.† From â€Å"all† it is clear that Owen has a recurring nightmare of the man’s death and his seeing his last moments has traumatized him. The poet shows that he was â€Å"helpless† despite the soldier’s pleas for help. The transferred epithet of â€Å"helpless sight† shows that Owen could merely witness the man’s death and was powerless in stopping the gas. The listed verbs are associated with a lack of air and death and the hard consonants almost embody the man’s dying moments. The final stanza is addressed to the advocates of war. Owen describes the horrific image of the man’s body and addresses the reader directly: â€Å"Behind the wagon that we flung him in. And watch the white eyes writhing in his face† The poet is almost asking the reader to be empathetic towards the soldiers in this sentence. The word â€Å"flung† shows a lack of care and respect and emphasises the anonymity of the soldier. The language used in the sections depicting the gas attack is strong, representing both the suffering of the victims of the gas attack as well as the effect on those haunted by what they have seen. The repetition of the word face makes it clear which part disturbs the poet most. The use of alliteration on the w sound reflects the agonised twisting of the gas victim. The poet also makes it clear how it is unfair on these young boys and how they are â€Å"innocent†. Owen highlights the severity and lasting effect of war and violence on the soldiers and this helps the reader to understand what happens at war and the effect of war. Owen ends the poem with a Latin expression taken from the odes of the roman poet Horace: â€Å"To children ardent for some desperate glory The old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.† The fact that the war recruits are only â€Å"children† makes the reader question the justification of sending people to war. The poet is saying that the men only go into war to be war heroes, yet, they are forgotten and forced through horrendous conditions. Throughout the poem there has been around ten syllables per line and the last line has only six and I think that the missed beats give the reader time to think about the poem as a whole. The Latin used at the end of the poem means It is sweet and honourable to die for your country, a concept Owen is strongly denying throughout the poem. â€Å"Dulce et Decorum Est† is a poem which gives a very insightful and realistic view of war. I think that Wilfred Owen did not use the full phrase â€Å"Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori† in order to allow the reader to decide for oneself whether they agreed or disagreed with him in the end.

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