dulce et decorum est analysis owen

Dulce et Decorum Est Summary & Analysis by Wilfred Owen

  • Line-by-Line Explanation & Analysis
  • Poetic Devices
  • Vocabulary & References
  • Form, Meter, & Rhyme Scheme
  • Line-by-Line Explanations

dulce et decorum est analysis owen

"Dulce et Decorum Est" is a poem by the English poet Wilfred Owen. Like most of Owen's work, it was written between August 1917 and September 1918, while he was fighting in World War 1. Owen is known for his wrenching descriptions of suffering in war. In "Dulce et Decorum Est," he illustrates the brutal everyday struggle of a company of soldiers, focuses on the story of one soldier's agonizing death, and discusses the trauma that this event left behind. He uses a quotation from the Roman poet Horace to highlight the difference between the glorious image of war (spread by those not actually fighting in it) and war's horrifying reality.

  • Read the full text of “Dulce et Decorum Est”

dulce et decorum est analysis owen

The Full Text of “Dulce et Decorum Est”

1 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

2 Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

3 Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

4 And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

5 Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,

6 But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

7 Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

8 Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

9 Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling

10 Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

11 But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

12 And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—

13 Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

14 As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

15 In all my dreams before my helpless sight,

16 He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

17 If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace

18 Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

19 And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

20 His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

21 If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

22 Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

23 Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

24 Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

25 My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

26 To children ardent for some desperate glory,

27 The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

28 Pro patria mori .

“Dulce et Decorum Est” Summary

“dulce et decorum est” themes.

Theme The Horror and Trauma of War

The Horror and Trauma of War

  • See where this theme is active in the poem.

Theme The Enduring Myth that War is Glorious

The Enduring Myth that War is Glorious

Line-by-line explanation & analysis of “dulce et decorum est”.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

dulce et decorum est analysis owen

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

Lines 11-14

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.— Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

Lines 15-16

In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

Lines 17-20

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

Lines 21-24

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

Lines 25-28

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori .

“Dulce et Decorum Est” Symbols

Symbol The Dying Soldier

The Dying Soldier

  • See where this symbol appears in the poem.

“Dulce et Decorum Est” Poetic Devices & Figurative Language

  • See where this poetic device appears in the poem.

“Dulce et Decorum Est” Vocabulary

Select any word below to get its definition in the context of the poem. The words are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.

  • Knock-kneed
  • Haunting flares
  • Flound'ring
  • Froth-corrupted
  • See where this vocabulary word appears in the poem.

Form, Meter, & Rhyme Scheme of “Dulce et Decorum Est”

Rhyme scheme, “dulce et decorum est” speaker, “dulce et decorum est” setting, literary and historical context of “dulce et decorum est”, more “dulce et decorum est” resources, external resources.

Biography of Wilfred Owen — A detailed biographical sketch of Wilfred Owen's life, including analysis of his work.

An Overview of Chemical Warfare — A concise historical account of the development of chemical weapons, with detailed descriptions of the poison gases used in WWI.

Listen to "Dulce et Decorum Est" — A recording of "Dulce et Decorum Est," provided by the Poetry Foundation.

Representing the Great War — The Norton Anthology's overview of literary representation of World War I, with accompanying texts. This includes two of Jessie Pope's patriotic poems, as well as poems by Siegfried Sassoon and others and various contemporary illustrations. It also suggests many additional resources for exploration.

Horace, Ode 3.2 — One translation of the Horace ode that the lines "Dulce et Decorum Est" originally appear in. 

Digital Archive of Owen's Life and Work — An archive of scanned documents from Owen's life and work, including his letters, as well as several handwritten drafts of "Dulce et Decorum Est" and other poems.

The White Feather — A brief personal essay about the treatment of conscientious objectors in WWI-era Britain.

LitCharts on Other Poems by Wilfred Owen

Anthem for Doomed Youth

Mental Cases

Spring Offensive

Strange Meeting

The Next War

Everything you need for every book you read.

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Interesting Literature

A Short Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’

By Dr Oliver Tearle

‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ or, to give the phrase in full: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori , Latin for ‘it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country’ ( patria is where we get our word ‘patriotic’ from). The phrase originated in the Roman poet Horace, but in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) famously rejects this idea.

For Owen, who had experienced the horrors of trench warfare and a gas attack, there was nothing sweet, and nothing fitting, about giving one’s life for one’s country. Focusing in particular on one moment in the First World War, when Owen and his platoon are attacked with poison gas, ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is a studied analysis of suffering and perhaps the most famous anti-war poem ever written.

Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.— Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori .

‘Dulce et Decorum Est’: background

In October 1917, Wilfred Owen wrote to his mother from Craiglockhart Hospital: ‘Here is a gas poem, done yesterday……..the famous Latin tag (from Horace, Odes) means of course it is sweet and meet to die for one’s country. Sweet! and decorous!’

Although he drafted the poem that October, the surviving drafts of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ show that Owen revised and revisited it on several occasions thereafter, before his death the following November – one week before the Armistice.

Although he wrote all his poetry while he was still a young man – he died aged just 25, like the poet he so admired, John Keats – Wilfred Owen was a master of form and metre, although the extent to which ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is carefully structured is not necessarily apparent from reading it (and certainly not from hearing it read aloud).

‘Dulce et Decorum Est’: form

The first two stanzas, comprising eight lines and six lines respectively, form a traditional 14-line sonnet, with an octave (eight-line section) and sestet (six-line section).

dulce et decorum est analysis owen

The line break after the fourteenth line only brings this home: there’s a pause, and then we find ourselves returning to the word ‘drowning’, locked in it, fixating on that word, ‘drowning’ to describe the helpless state of the poor soldier suffocating from poison gas. The helplessness, of course, is Owen’s too, being unable to do anything for his falling comrade: all we can do is watch in horror.

‘Dulce et Decorum Est’: imagery

The imagery is as striking and memorable as the structure, though a little more explicit: the first stanza bombards us with a series of similes for the exhausted men trudging through mud (‘like old beggars’, ‘coughing like hags’) and more direct metaphors (‘blood-shod’ suggesting feet caked in blood, implying trench-foot and cut legs; with ‘shod’ putting us in mind of horses, perhaps being used to plough a very different kind of muddy field; and ‘drunk with fatigue’ bitterly reminding us that this isn’t some sort of beer-fuelled jolly, a bunch of friends out for a night on the town).

Then we are shocked by the double cry of ‘Gas! GAS!’ at the beginning of the second stanza, with the two successive heavy stresses grabbing our attention, much as the cry from one soldier to his comrades is designed to – and they all fumble for their masks, struggling to put them in place to protect them against the deadly gas attack.

dulce et decorum est analysis owen

Even after he physically witnessed the soldier dying from the effects of the poison gas, Owen cannot forget it: it haunts his dreams, a recurring nightmare. The recurrence of the word ‘drowning’ neatly conveys this.

In that final stanza, Owen turns what until now has been a descriptive poem into a piece of anti-war propaganda, responding with brilliant irony to the patriotic poets such as Jessie Pope (whom Owen specifically has in mind here), who wrote jingoistic doggerel that encouraged young men to enlist and ‘do their bit for king and country’.

‘Dulce et Decorum Est’: further analysis

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin …

If people like Pope, Owen argues, addressing her directly (‘If in some smothering dreams you too could pace…’), could witness what he has witnessed, and were forced to relive it in their dreams and waking thoughts every day and night, they would not in all good conscience be able to write such pro-war poetry, knowing they were encouraging more men to share the horrific fate of the soldier Owen had seen killed.

Jessie Pope and her ilk would not be able to feed the ‘Old Lie’, Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori , to impressionable young men (some of them so young they are still ‘children’: it’s worth remembering that some boys lied about their age so they could join up) who are ‘ardent for some desperate glory’.

‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ is a fine example of Owen’s superb craftsmanship as a poet: young he may have been, and valuable as his poetry is as a window onto the horrors of the First World War, in the last analysis the reason we value his response to the horrific events he witnessed is that he put them across in such emotive but controlled language, using imagery at once true and effective.

As he put it in the draft preface he wrote for his poems: ‘My subject is War, and the pity of War. The poetry is in the pity.’

dulce et decorum est analysis owen

Image (top): Wilfred Owen (author unknown: image taken from 1920 edition of  Poems of Wilfred Owen ),  Wikimedia Commons . Image (bottom): John Singer Sargent,  Gassed , via Wikimedia Commons .

8 thoughts on “A Short Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’”

  • Pingback: 10 Classic Wilfred Owen Poems Everyone Should Read | Interesting Literature
  • Pingback: The Best War Poems Everyone Should Read | Interesting Literature

Excellent analysis of a great poem.

Thank you :)

Wilfred Owen is one of the many talented war poets that inspired me to love literature!

Good piece here on a powerful poem. And I still think ‘Disabled’ is his best…

  • Pingback: Sunday Post – 11th March, 2018 | Brainfluff

A very good analysis of one of my favourite poems. Arguably the best of any war poet.

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Dulce et Decorum Est

by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.— Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend , you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

Summary of Dulce et Decorum Est

  •   Popularity: “ Dulce et Decorum Est” is a famous anti-war poem by Wilfred Owen. It was first published in 1920. The poem presents strong criticism of the war and its aftermath. The poet details the horrors of the gas warfare during WW1, and the miserable plight of the soldiers caught in it makes up the major point of the argument of the poet. Since its publication, the poem has won immense popularity on account of the presentation of the brutalities of war.
  • “Dulce et Decorum Est” as Criticism on War: As this poem is written in the context of war, the poet describes the gruesome experiences of war. As a soldier in the WW1, he experienced the sufferings of the war and its pains. By depicting the death and destruction caused by the war, he declares that war is not a heroic deed. Many innocent souls are lost for the sake of their country. He considers war as a devil’s work that brings violence, destruction, and ruination to the people. In the first part of the poem, he tells about a specific war-related past event. The tired, limping and wounded soldiers are returning from the battlefield when there is a gas attack, and the speaker observes the helplessness of coughing, choking and dying soldiers. He seems immoveable from the incident when he watches a soldier succumbing to the deadly gas. Later, this image of the floundering soldier constantly haunts him. The second part of the poem further illustrates the pathetic and frenzied events of the war. What enchants the readers is the lifelike images of traumatic incidents demonstrated by the poet to explain the inhumanity of war.
  • Major Themes of “Dulce et Decorum Est” : Death and horrors of war are the major themes of the poem. The poet incorporates these themes with the help of appropriate imagery . He says that those who have lived these miserable moments will never glorify war. He negates the glorious description of the war by presenting the brutal graphic realities of the battlefield. These themes are foregrounded in powerful phrases such as “like old beggars under sacks,” “haunting flares”, “blood-shod”,” guttering, choking, drowning” just to show that the poem depicts this universal thematic idea.

Analysis of the Literary Devices used in “Dulce et Decorum Est”

literary devices are used to bring richness and clarity to the texts. The writers and poets use them to make their texts appealing and meaningful. Owen has also employed some literary devices in this poem to present the mind-disturbing pictures of the war. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been discussed below.

  • Alliteration : Alliteration is the use of the same consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /s/ in “ But someone still was yelling out and stumbling” and /w/ sound in “And watch the white eyes writhing in his face.
  • Simile : Simile is a figure of speech used to compare something with something else to describe an object or a person. Owen has used many self-explanatory similes in this poem such as,” Bent double, like old beggars under sacks”, “Knock-kneed, coughing like hags”, “like a man in fire or lime” and “like a devil’s sick of sin.”
  • Metaphor : There is only one metaphor used in this poem. It is used in line seven of the poem, “ Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots.” It presents the physical state of the men.
  • Onomatopoeia : It refers to the words which imitate the natural sounds of the things. Owen has used the words “hoot”, “knock” and “gargling” in the poem to imitate sounds.
  • Consonance : Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the /r/ sound in “Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.”
  • Synecdoche : It is a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole. For example, the word “sight” in the second stanza represents the speaker.
  • Imagery : Imagery is used to make the readers perceive things with their five senses. Owen has successfully used a lot of imageries to create a horrific picture of war, pain, and The following phrases show the effective use of imagery as he says, “old beggars under sacks”, “had lost their boots”, “His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin” and “white eyes.”
  • Assonance : Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as /o/ sound in “Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues.”

The careful glimpse of literary analysis shows that the poet has skilfully projected his war experiences under cover of these literary devices. The appropriate use of the devices has made this poem a thought-provoking piece for the readers.

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Dulce et Decorum Est”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  • Structure: The poem is a combination of two sonnets. In the first sonnet , the poet describes his experiences of the war whereas in the second sonnet he becomes analytic and attempts to correct the outlook of others about the war.
  • Sonnet : A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem in which a single idea floats throughout the poem.
  • Rhyme Scheme : The whole poem follows the ABAB, CDCD rhyme scheme in iambic pentameter .
  • Iambic Pentameter : It is a type of meter consisting of five iambs . The poem comprises iambic pentameter such as, “Bent Dou ble, like old beg gars un der ”
Quotes to be Used
  • These lines can be used when describing the awful situation of the people facing droughts , illness or diseases.
“Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge.”
  • These lines can be used when narrating any personal experience of pain or depression.
“Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.”

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Wilfred Owen: Poems

By wilfred owen, wilfred owen: poems summary and analysis of "dulce et decorum est".

The boys are bent over like old beggars carrying sacks, and they curse and cough through the mud until the "haunting flares" tell them it is time to head toward their rest. As they march some men are asleep, others limp with bloody feet as they'd lost their boots. All are lame and blind, extremely tired and deaf to the shells falling behind them.

Suddenly there is gas, and the speaker calls, "Quick, boys!" There is fumbling as they try to put on their helmets in time. One soldier is still yelling and stumbling about as if he is on fire. Through the dim "thick green light" the speaker sees him fall like he is drowning.

The drowning man is in the speaker's dreams, always falling, choking.

The speaker says that if you could follow behind that wagon where the soldier's body was thrown, watching his eyes roll about in his head, see his face "like a devil's sick of sin", hear his voice gargling frothy blood at every bounce of the wagon, sounding as "obscene as cancer" and bitter as lingering sores on the tongue, then you, "my friend", would not say with such passion and conviction to children desirous of glory, "the old lie" of "Dulce et decorum est".

"Dulce et Decorum est" is without a doubt one of, if not the most, memorable and anthologized poems in Owen's oeuvre. Its vibrant imagery and searing tone make it an unforgettable excoriation of WWI, and it has found its way into both literature and history courses as a paragon of textual representation of the horrors of the battlefield. It was written in 1917 while Owen was at Craiglockhart, revised while he was at either Ripon or Scarborough in 1918, and published posthumously in 1920. One version was sent to Susan Owen, the poet's mother, with the inscription, "Here is a gas poem done yesterday (which is not private, but not final)." The poem paints a battlefield scene of soldiers trudging along only to be interrupted by poison gas. One soldier does not get his helmet on in time and is thrown on the back of the wagon where he coughs and sputters as he dies. The speaker bitterly and ironically refutes the message espoused by many that war is glorious and it is an honor to die for one's country.

The poem is a combination of two sonnets, although the spacing between the two is irregular. It resembles French ballad structure. The broken sonnet form and the irregularity reinforce the feeling of otherworldliness; in the first sonnet, Owen narrates the action in the present, while in the second he looks upon the scene, almost dazed, contemplative. The rhyme scheme is traditional, and each stanza features two quatrains of rhymed iambic pentameter with several spondaic substitutions.

"Dulce" is a message of sorts to a poet and civilian propagandist, Jessie Pope, who had written several jingoistic and enthusiastic poems exhorting young men to join the war effort. She is the "friend" Owen mentions near the end of his poem. The first draft was dedicated to her, with a later revision being altered to "a certain Poetess". However, the final draft eliminated a specific reference to her, as Owen wanted his words to apply to a larger audience.

The title of the poem, which also appears in the last two lines, is Latin for, "It is sweet and right to die for one's country" - or, more informally, "it is an honor to die for one's country". The line derives from the Roman poet Horace's Ode 3.2 . The phrase was commonly used during the WWI era, and thus would have resonated with Owen's readers. It was also inscribed on the wall of the chapel of the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in 1913.

In the first stanza Owen is speaking in first person, putting himself with his fellow soldiers as they labor through the sludge of the battlefield. He depicts them as old men, as "beggars". They have lost the semblance of humanity and are reduced to ciphers. They are wearied to the bone and desensitized to all but their march. In the second stanza the action occurs – poisonous gas forces the soldiers to put their helmets on. Owen heightens the tension through the depiction of one unlucky soldier who could not complete this task in time - he ends up falling, "drowning" in gas. This is seen through "the misty panes and the thick green light", and, as the imagery suggests, the poet sees this in his dreams.

In the fourth stanza Owen takes a step back from the action and uses his poetic voice to bitterly and incisively criticize those who promulgate going to war as a glorious endeavor. He paints a vivid picture of the dying young soldier, taking pains to limn just how unnatural it is, "obscene as cancer". The dying man is an offense to innocence and purity – his face like a "devil's sick of sin". Owen then says that, if you knew what the reality of war was like, you would not go about telling children they should enlist. There is utterly no ambiguity in the poem, and thus it is emblematic of poetry critical of war.

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Wilfred Owen: Poems Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Wilfred Owen: Poems is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

How could we interpret the symbol of ‘fruits’?​

Poem title, please?

What are the similarities between the poems Next War and Dulce et Decorum est? for example how grief is portrayed through both is almost the same fashion

I'm not sure what you mean by "next war".

Experience of war in Dulce Et Decorum Est

"Dulce et Decorum est" is without a doubt one of, if not the most, memorable and anthologized poems in Owen's oeuvre. Its vibrant imagery and searing tone make it an unforgettable excoriation of WWI, and it has found its way into both literature...

Study Guide for Wilfred Owen: Poems

Wilfred Owen: Poems study guide contains a biography of Wilfred Owen, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis of Wilfred Owen's major poems.

  • About Wilfred Owen: Poems
  • Wilfred Owen: Poems Summary
  • Character List

Essays for Wilfred Owen: Poems

Wilfred Owen: Poems essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Wilfred Owen's poetry.

  • “Fellowships Untold”: The Role of Wilfred Owen’s Poetry in Understanding Comradeship During World War I
  • Analysis of Owen's "Strange Meeting"
  • The Development of Modernism as Seen through World War I Poetry and "The Prussian Officer"
  • Commentary on the Poem “Disabled” by Wilfred Owen
  • Commentary on the Poem "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen

E-Text of Wilfred Owen: Poems

Wilfred Owen: Poems e-text contains the full texts of select poems by Wilfred Owen.

  • Introduction by Siegfried Sassoon
  • Strange Meeting
  • Greater Love
  • Apologia pro Poemeta Mio

Wikipedia Entries for Wilfred Owen: Poems

  • Introduction
  • War service

dulce et decorum est analysis owen

Easy Insightful Literature Notes

Dulce et Decorum Est Summary & Analysis

Dulce et decorum est: about the poem.

The poem Dulce et Decorum Est is a prominent anti-war poem written by Wilfred Owen about the events surrounding the First World War. Owen served as a Lieutenant in the War and felt the soldiers’ pain and the real truth behind war.

In the poem, he creates an hierarchical division of events. First, he discusses the general unwillingness of the soldiers who are actually facing the wrath of war to continue with the war. The soldiers are caught in a sudden gas attack, most probably the chlorine gas which forms a green sea. Owen then moves on to depict the trauma the narrator suffers while he watches his fellow soldier succumb to the deadly gas poisoning and can do nothing. Finally, he makes an outstanding commentary on how the perspectives of people talking about war and the soldiers who are witnessing it differ.

In the poem, Owen presents a graphic picturisation not of the the war but the casualty of war. Such characterisation makes the poem a distinct anti-war poem of all time. Further, in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ we find that it is not confined to being an anti-war poem. Rather, it moves a step ahead to invoke those people who make rallying  cry for youths to enlist to fight war in name of glory and national honour.

This brings out the irony between the idealism of war as heroic by men exhorting youth to join the war and realism of the war as devastating that a soldier of the war face. The use of irony marks Owen’s known form of expression.

He directed the first draft of this poem to Jessie Pope, a civilian propagandist and poetess who rooted on the youths to join war efforts. Then, he  later revised it to mention “a certain Poetess” and ultimately eliminated it in order to rope in a larger audience.

The title of the poem is satiric and a manifestation of the disgust and bitterness the narrator holds for the warmongers. The title appears in the last two lines of the poem. “Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori” (It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.) was a popular Latin phrase at that time. It was originally a part of the Roman Poet Horace’s Ode 3.2 . Owen ends the poem with these lines to accentuate the fact that participation in war may not at all be decorous. He was simply unable to justify the sufferings of war. The outbreaks of influenza, or living in trenches with rats for days didn’t seem justifiable. The loss of so many lives, soldiers living in worst conditions, blocking each other’s food supplies didn’t support a humane environment.

About the Poet: Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, MC (Military Cross) was an English soldier and one of the leading war-poets of the First World War. He is best known for his works which stood contrary to the popular perception of war at the time and the patriotic verses of the writers like Rupert Brooke. Many of his best-known works came out  posthumously including “Dulce et Decorum Est”, “Insensibility”, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, “Futility” and “Strange Meeting”.

His early writings show influence of Romantic poets like Keats and Shelley. But, his later ones show a distinct influence of his fellow soldier Siegfried Sassoon, especially his use of satire.

Owen was awarded the Military Cross for his courage and leadership in the Joncourt action.

Dulce et Decorum Est: Form and Structure

The poem is a combination of two sonnets. Though the spacing is regular between them, it gives a semblance of French ballad. The breaks in the sonnets are irregular and irregularity brings out a sense of irregularity and imperfectness of the world.

In the first sonnet, the poet describes his experiences of the war. In the second sonnet, he becomes analytic with a clear stand. He reflects back on what he experienced and attempts to correct the outlook of others.

The poem rhymes well following patterns like ABAB, CDCD etc. It may look like one written in Iambic Pentameter. But, the stresses are not definite in every line. May be this is another way of Owen to break off from the conventions and traditional ideals of the society and show the world its true face.

Dulce et Decorum Est: Line by line Analysis

The poem develops along three stages – presentation of weary and tired soldiers, then their sudden exposure to bombings and gassing and finally, the horrific after-effect of the war – described so emphatically.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags,

The first stanza starts with the description of the tired, war-ridden soldiers. According to the speaker, the soldiers were bent double like old beggars with heavy sacks. Here, ‘double’ points to the fact that the soldiers were not only physically but also mentally exhausted.

They were knock-kneed or physically deformed, coughing like hags. With the use of simile with the word “like” in ‘like old beggars’, and ‘hags’, the poet tries to induce the convincing image of horrid and terrifying experiences of the war.

… we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Exhausted, they dragged on through the sludge nonetheless. The “sludge” may actually depict the trenches the soldiers had to live through during the First World War. Seemingly, these trenches became a part of an extended war-plan. The soldiers wouldn’t turn around even if the haunting flares or bombs exploded near them. They kept on moving to their camps, a place where they could rest. It was certainly ‘distant’ from the war-front.

Here, ‘distant rest’ can also point to subtle description of death as the ultimate destiny for the war-soldiers. Only death could be the real guarantee of rest. The First World War did cost over nine million lives.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

With this, the speaker continues the description and says the men marched on. They were dog-tired as if they were asleep. Even when many of them lost their boots they limped on their blood-shod feet. They all went lame and blind and drunk with fatigue. They even grew deaf to the noises, hoots of the shells and the bombs around them. Even the five-point-nine calibre shells which dropped behind them seemed to fail to awaken the soldiers.

To make it easy, the soldiers were so tired that they could not even hear the sounds of all the noises, hoots, bombs or the mighty shells.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. . .

With the second stanza, we move on to the second act or stage where a sudden chaos ensues. The poem suddenly gains pace with the abrupt gas-attack. The soldiers were caught in the frenzy which is marked by ‘Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!’. They hastened to ready themselves with masks and helmets. While fitting their clumsy helmets in time, they fumbled. But, there was one soldier still yelling out and stumbling, floundering like a man on fire or lime (which burns live tissues).

The ‘ecstasy of fumbling’ provides us with an irony. Surely, the situation was far from being ecstasy. It only describes the picture of how tired and jaded they were. The chaos followed the fatigue and presented itself as ecstasy.

With the use of simile, the poet takes help from outside to actually describe what he was feeling. It is as if he cannot deal with the event head-on. So, he sought similarity with hags to minimize the pain he was feeling – the pain of a life getting lost right in front of his eyes.

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

The speaker then says that through the hazy window-panes and the dim, thick green light, he saw his comrade drowning under a green sea. The gas-attack produced the “green” sea that his eyes saw.

With the repetition of the word ‘green’, the poet paints a gruesome picture of how overwhelming the scene must have been.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

The poet stresses upon the dreams the speaker is having in the third stanza. In all his dreams, the same soldier plunges at the speaker. And, like always, he can do nothing but look at him helplessly.

Here, ‘helpless sight’ underscores the sense of helplessness he felt at not being able to help his fellow soldier when he succumbed to the gas-attack. As in past, he was unable to do anything about it and was guilt-ridden, the same is reflected in his dreams.

The man in his dreams is always guttering, choking and drowning. Here, ‘guttering’ may point to gurgling like water draining down a gutter or the sounds in the throat of the choking man.

The rhyme scheme of this stanza follows the second one. Quite possibly, it highlights how the past (second stanza) is affecting his present (third stanza).

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

Now with this stanza, the poem enters its final stage where the speaker takes over the narrative. Here, as discussed earlier, ‘you’ is meant to point out to  the extended audience Owen tries to show the real face of the war to. Here, he attempts to convince us to see the war as if we were there.

Yet again, the pace of the poem slows down. The whole stanza is a single complex sentence comprising of some conditional (if) clauses. The motive is to say that we the readers could feel the poet’s agony and support his point if we were present in the battlefield and saw the horrific happenings there.

Clearly, through this stanza, he wants the reader to feel the pain he went through. But he knows there is no way that we the readers can feel the same. It is just not possible to feel the same from afar. So, everything from now can only be hypothetical.

Owen continues to exhort the readers to prove his point. He claims that we the readers could feel the same pity of war if we could follow the wagon that they (speaker and his comrades) flung the soldier’s body in, or watch the dead soldier’s lifeless white eyes or his pitiful face in an overwhelming (smothering) dream.

Here, the poet has used expressions like ‘white eyes’, ‘writhing in his face’, ‘hanging face’ and ‘devil’s sick of sin’ to express how horrible the dream could be.

Here is a simile in comparing the lifeless face to a devil’s sick of sin. Again, when we notice keenly we find the use of sibilance with ‘face’, ‘devil’s’,  ‘sick’ and ‘sin’ in the last line above.

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.

Further, the poet invokes the readers and calls them his friend (‘my friend’) while carrying on with his logic. He opines, if we could hear the soldier’s voice gargling blood from his lung corrupted by the gas at every jolt the wagon experienced sounding as “obscene as cancer” and bitter as cud, then we would not say with such high zest and conviction to the keen children desirous of glory, “the old lie” of “Dulce et decorum est”.

Here, ‘high zest’ is a satirical take to point out the idealistic conviction and enthusiasm of people sitting back home. Nonetheless, it brings in light the hypocrisy of such men and women who are far away from the war and unaware of the true reality of the war.

He clearly calls “Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori” (“It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”) an old lie. Even when he maintains that he is not unwilling to sacrifice his life for his country, he simply doesn’t believe in the old conviction that it is the sweet and fitting thing to do. Needless to say, he didn’t gain any sweet or fitting, worthwhile experience from the war.

So, this anti-war poem goes on to paint the tragedy of war and to convince the leaders against trying to infuse false patriotism in youths. And, unlike many other war-poems, this is based on real stocktaking, real knowledge and real assessment of the situation.

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Dulce et Decorum est

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Summary and Study Guide

Among Wilfred Owen’s most famous poems, “Dulce et Decorum Est” was written in 1917 while he was in Craiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland, recovering from injuries sustained on the battlefield during World War I. The poem details the death of a soldier from chlorine gas told by another soldier who witnesses his gruesome end. Owen himself died in action on November 4, 1918 in France at the age of 25. He published only five poems during his lifetime. “Dulce et Decorum Est” appeared for the first time in print in the posthumous Poems (1920) and is now considered one of the greatest poems of the tumultuous period. This, and other poems of Owen’s on the topic of war, became renowned for the poet’s unflinching look at the physical horrors of warfare as well as his condemnation of those who glorified service.

The poem’s Latin title is taken from a famous line from the Roman poet Horace: “Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori” (Lines 27-28), which translates to “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.” This quote was widely used to support war efforts and as a general military philosophy in England at the time. Owen originally sarcastically dedicated the poem to his contemporary Jessie Pope, a woman poet who wrote popular pro-war poetry aimed at young men, comparing war to a game and urging them to enlist. While Owen edited out the specificity of the dedication, he did intend his poem as a response to poetry like Pope’s. The poem does not appear to be autobiographical in that Owen seems not to have experienced a chlorine gas attack in World War I. However, this doesn’t lessen his speaker’s realistic rendering of such an event nor dismisses the horrors Owen himself experienced (See: Further Reading & Resources ).

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Content Warning: Due to its source material, this study guide features references to and descriptions of World War I, the battle’s effects on the human body, physical descriptions of the effects of chemical warfare, and discussions of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Poet Biography

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Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born on March 18, 1893 in Oswestry, England, near the border of Wales. His parents were Susan and Thomas, a railway station master. Owen was the eldest child of four and close to his siblings and mother. He was educated at the Birkenhead Institute and at Shrewsbury Technical School. In his late teens, he began writing poetry and was accepted into the University of London but could not fund attendance. For a time, he thought he would join the clergy and worked as an assistant to a Vicar in Reading. However, this assignment also led to his questioning the church and its ability to help those in need. He went to school at Reading University College (now the University of Reading) and wrote poetry in his spare time, but he returned home in 1913 after falling ill.

Eight months later, to support himself, he worked as a private tutor of English in Bordeaux, France where he fell in love with France and befriended the elderly poet and pacificist, Laurent Tailhade, who encouraged his work. In June, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo and World War I began. Owen considered joining the French army but eventually returned to England. He enlisted in October of 1915. In the summer 1916, he became a second lieutenant in the Manchester Regiment and in December, he wound up back in France, but this time on the battlefield.

In the winter and spring of 1917, he was concussed by a shell, nearly froze to death in a field of snow, was caught in a blast that killed most of his fellow officers, saw friends and comrades die, and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (known at the time as “shell shock”). In June, Owen was admitted to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh to recuperate. There, he edited the hospital’s journal, The Hydra , under his doctor’s encouragement. The poet Siegfried Sassoon arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter, and the two men became close friends and influenced each other’s work. Already a published poet, Sassoon encouraged, read, and edited Owen’s poetry.

Owen and Sassoon were both interested in psychoanalysis, which was new at the time, and sought to translate their emotional experiences, dreams, and dreamlike visions into poetry while interweaving stark realities of violence and war. In November 1918, Owen was discharged from Craiglockhart and began light duties in North Yorkshire. In March, he was stationed in Ripon Army Camp at its Command Depot. There, he wrote the majority of the poems that would make up the posthumous Poems . Sassoon introduced him to several important literary figures in London and in May, a publishing company expressed interest in his poetry manuscript.

That July, he went back to active duty. Owen grew increasingly distressed by wartime propaganda but felt it his duty to record the horrific realities of war. Sassoon did not want him to go and Owen kept his service a secret until he was in France. He returned to the front lines of battle a month later.

On November 4, 1918, Wilfred Owen was killed in action just a week before the signing of the Armistice that ended the war. Upon posthumous publication of Owen’s Poems (1920), edited by Sassoon, he was quickly lauded as among the best war poets of the nation. Critics believed at the time, and still do today, that his poems’ gritty realism and sympathetic tone served as an important counterpoint to the popular patriotic view of military service as an objectified, glorious endeavor.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie:  Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

Owen, Wilfred. “ Dulce et Decorum Est .” 1921. Poetry Foundation.

The poem begins with a detailed look at a group of weary soldiers, the speaker among them, as they end a day’s battle. Injured and weighed down by their equipment, they slog their way to where they will make camp. The first stanza details their physicality and centers on their extreme exhaustion, which makes them less alert to the signs of war behind them.

In the second stanza, they are surprised by a chemical gas attack and hurry to put on their gas masks. One soldier cannot secure his in time and is exposed to the burning chemicals. His comrades watch helplessly as he suffocates, as if he were drowning in water. His desperate fight for breath haunts the speaker who later sees the soldier's death “[i]n all [his] dreams” (Line 15).

The last stanza is a passionate condemnation of those who promote war as glorious. The speaker believes if they could have seen the soldier’s slow, painful death as he was carried away in a cart, they would reconsider their philosophy. The speaker details the soldier’s blindness, his slack expression, his coughing up of blood due to his affected lungs, and the chemical burns on his tongue. He notes that if people could see these catastrophic injuries, they wouldn’t be so quick to believe—or encourage—“[t]he old Lie” (Line 27) that dying for one’s country is a grand gesture worth any price.

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The War Inside: An Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est

Key takeaway:.

  • Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” vividly portrays the horrors of war, specifically focusing on the physical and emotional toll it takes on soldiers.
  • The poem exposes the false perception of war glorification and challenges the notion of dying nobly for one’s country.
  • Owen’s use of descriptive language and powerful imagery effectively conveys the reality and brutality of war, leaving a lasting impact on readers.

Wilfred Owen’s powerful poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est,” offers a haunting perspective on the horrors of war. In this introduction, we will delve into the background of Wilfred Owen, provide an overview of the poem, and unfold the thesis statement that forms the basis of our analysis. Brace yourself as we navigate the depths of this poignant piece, shedding light on the war’s devastating reality.

Background of Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen was born on March 18, 1893 in Shropshire, England . His early life was shaped by his strong religious beliefs and his passion for literature . When World War I broke out, he enlisted in the army and was sent to the battlefields of France. There, he encountered the brutal realities of war and its devastating effects.

His poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” is one of his most renowned works. Written in 1917, it reveals the physical and psychological hardships of war. By employing vivid descriptions and powerful imagery, Owen exposes the true nature of conflict and challenges popular notions of its nobility and glamor.

Owen’s poems focus on displaying the grim reality of warfare instead of glorifying it. He believed war was far from honorable or noble, and brought immense suffering and death to those involved. Through his work, he sought to make people question the notion that it is honorable to die for one’s country. He aimed to convey the true horrors of war to an unsuspecting audience.

Overview of the poem “Dulce et Decorum Est”

Wilfred Owen’s “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” is an effective poem. It shows the horror of war. Through great imagery and words, Owen makes a disturbing image of the physical and emotional harm war has on soldiers. The poem questions the belief that it is noble to die for one’s country.

In stanza 1 , Owen reveals the tiredness and misery of the soldiers. He talks of their haggard faces and weary bodies. He also talks of the feelings of desperation and the wish for death.

Stanza 2 is about a gas attack and the panic it causes. Owen talks of the soldiers’ vulnerability in their protective gear. He conveys confusion and disorder with soldiers drugged and drained.

In stanza 3 , Owen talks of the harm mustard gas does to its victims. He paints a picture of the slow and agonizing death. He compares it to a nightmare and questions if war is really honorable.

In stanza 4 , Owen speaks to war journalist Jessie Pope. He criticizes her glorification of war and contrasts it with his own portrayal of suffering due to mustard gas. He argues that war is not noble.

To understand poetry, pay attention to the imagery and the context in which it was written. Learn the bitter truth of war through Owen’s “ Dulce et Decorum Est .” War is not sweet or glorious.

Thesis statement: The analysis of the poem and its depiction of the horrors of war

Wilfred Owen’s poem “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” explores the brutality of war. It shows the physical and emotional pain experienced by soldiers on the battlefield. The poem’s goal is to reveal the harsh truth behind war – beyond the romanticized ideas of heroism and patriotism.

Stanza 1 displays the exhaustion and suffering of the soldiers. Owen gives a vivid description of their physical state, highlighting their weary condition. He also highlights their emotional state – a feeling of despair and a yearning for death as an escape from the torment.

Stanza 2 focuses on a gas attack and its disastrous aftermath. The protective gear proves to be useless, leaving the soldiers exposed to the gaseous poison. They appear dazed and drained, embodying their struggle against an unforgiving enemy.

Stanza 3 describes the mustard gas and its horrific effects. Owen compares it to a nightmare, capturing the gruesome reality of those exposed to it. He cautions against embracing false ideas of honor in participating in war.

In Stanza 4 , Owen criticizes war journalist Jessie Pope while displaying the mustard gas-induced agony. He condemns not only Pope’s glorification of war but also society’s romanticization of dying for one’s country. Through vivid imagery and descriptions, he seeks to reveal the true horrors of war.

Analysis of Stanza 1: Exhaustion and Misery

In the first stanza of Wilfred Owen’s powerful poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est,” we delve into the raw depths of exhaustion and misery experienced by the soldiers. Through a vivid description of their physical appearance and an exploration of their emotional state, we uncover the haunting realities of war. Let’s dissect this opening stanza and unravel the profound impact it has on the reader.

Description of the soldiers’ physical appearance

The poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen depicts the physical toll of war on the soldiers. He portrays them as exhausted and miserable .

The soldiers are “bent double,” a hunched posture from the weight of war. Their clothing is tattered and torn , symbolizing their struggles. They have “lame” boots and “blood-shod” feet, from the pain of every step.

They trudge through mud , weighed down by their gear. Their faces are “white,” and their eyes filled with despair.

Owen does not shy away from depicting the realities of war, and captures the weariness and degradation of the soldiers. Through this, he allows readers to empathize with their suffering.

The poem serves as a reminder of the sacrifices of those in armed conflicts and challenges romanticized notions of warfare.

Exploration of the soldiers’ emotional state

Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” paints a vivid picture of the soldiers’ emotional state. Their profound despair and desire for release from the horrors of war is explored. The burden of their experiences weigh them down. Their emotion is described as utter hopelessness and desperation. This serves as a reminder of the psychological effect of war.

Owen expertly uses language and imagery to capture the soldiers’ emotions. The words “trudge” and “lame” illustrate their physical weariness. The phrase “drunk with fatigue” conveys their exhaustion and mental toll. Readers are invited to sympathize with and recognize the trauma endured.

Vivid metaphors are used to show the overwhelming despair of the soldiers. Their longing for death is compared to drowning. Owen presents the devastating impact of war on individuals.

Feeling of hopelessness

Wilfred Owen’s poem “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” paints a vivid, poignant picture of wartime horrors. Stanza 2 explains how soldiers respond to gas attacks and the chaos and suffocating fumes that cause their sense of hopelessness.

Stanza 3 shows a man slowly dying from mustard gas, emphasizing the soldiers’ helplessness. Stanza 4 speaks to war journalist Jessie Pope , condemning her for romanticizing war and contrasting it with its true brutality.

Owen effectively communicates the profound sense of hopelessness felt by those on the front lines. His purpose is to debunk the glamorization of war and expose its true horrors. His poem creates an impact that lingers long after reading.

Desire for death

Wilfred Owen delves into the soldiers’ longing for death in his poem “Dulce et Decorum Est.” He paints a picture of their emotional state, showing how desperate they’ve become.

Stanza 1 details their physical deterioration due to war. Owen emphasizes the haggard appearance of the troops. This mirrors their inner turmoil and their willingness to accept death as an escape.

In Stanza 2 , he goes further into their reaction to a gas attack. Without proper protection, panic and confusion take over. The language used implies they are drugged and drained, wanting death to be their savior.

Stanza 3 dives into the slow, painful death from mustard gas exposure. This dream-like struggle for survival highlights the physical and psychological suffering of war.

Wilfred Owen experienced these horrors as a soldier on the Western Front. This experience influences his powerful poetry about war.

Analysis of Stanza 2: Gas Attack and Chaos

In stanza 2 of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est,” we delve into the harrowing reality of a gas attack and the ensuing chaos. This section vividly depicts the soldiers’ response to the gas attack and unravels the portrayal of the intense chaos and confusion that ensues. Prepare to be immersed in the haunting imagery and raw emotions conveyed in this pivotal stanza.

Depiction of the soldiers’ response to the gas attack

Wilfred Owen’s poem “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” vividly depicts the soldiers’ response to the gas attack. Stanza 2 portrays their panic and fear as they scramble to put on ineffective protective gear. It conveys a profound psychological impact of war, highlighting the soldiers’ vulnerability and numbed emotional state.

Owen’s portrayal shows them drugged and drained, demonstrating how war can dehumanize individuals and trap them in cycles of violence. Stanza 1 emphasizes their exhaustion and misery, providing context for understanding their response in Stanza 2 .

Owen offers a powerful insight into the horrors of war, reminding us that it has devastating effects on both body and mind. When discussing depictions of traumatic experiences like gas attacks in literature, sensitivity and empathy are key. Pay attention to the language used to convey the characters’ emotions, as this can provide deeper understanding of the human condition during times of war.

Portrayal of the chaos and confusion during the attack

Wilfred Owen’s “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” vividly portrays the chaos and confusion of a gas attack. He portrays soldiers’ panic and terror, showing how their gear fails to protect them. He describes the men as drugged and drained, conveying the disoriented state they’re in. His powerful imagery captures the overwhelming chaos and confusion of a gas attack.

In Stanza 2, Owen focuses on the ineffectiveness of protective gear. Mustard gas infiltrates, causing panic among the soldiers. They stumble over each other in an attempt to escape death. This exposes war’s grim reality, highlighting its devastating impact.

Owen also shows how the gas distorts reality, causing further chaos and confusion for the soldiers. His graphic imagery paints a bleak picture of suffering and despair. He urges us to question any glorification of war and calls for peace instead.

Ineffectiveness of protective gear

The soldiers in Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” experience the harsh realities of ineffective protections. Gas masks and clothing fail to keep out the poisonous gas. The soldiers are unable to escape, leaving them vulnerable to blistering and burning. Even with advancements in technology, their efforts to protect themselves are futile.

Owen recounts a true story of a soldier who failed to put on his gas mask in time. This soldier suffers excruciating pain and irreversible damage to his lungs . This serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences of inadequate protection .

The poem powerfully communicates Owen’s anti-war message . Glorification of war is exposed as a reminder of the true cost of conflict .

Soldiers appearing drugged and drained

Soldiers in Owen’s poem “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” appear drugged and drained . Their fatigue and trauma is highlighted in the details of their haggard faces and bloodshot eyes. War takes a psychological toll, leaving them feeling numb and detached.

The chaos and confusion of the gas attack make them even more vulnerable. Protective gear is useless. They struggle to survive as they stumble through a haze of poison gas.

Owen’s use of descriptive language presents them as figures in a nightmare – pale, disoriented, sluggish as if under a powerful sedative. The surreal quality of their suffering intensifies the image of them appearing drugged and drained .

Analysis of Stanza 3: The Horrors of Mustard Gas

Stanza 3 of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” takes us into the depths of the horrors inflicted by mustard gas. It vividly describes the excruciating journey towards death that victims of this brutal weapon endure. As we explore this stanza, we’ll witness Owen’s powerful comparison of the dying man’s struggle to a haunting nightmare. Moreover, we’ll uncover the profound irony as Owen sarcastically warns against the false perception of war as glorified and honorable.

Description of the slow and agonizing death caused by mustard gas

Wilfred Owen’s poem “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” paints a vivid picture of the slow and agonizing death caused by mustard gas.

“ Slow ” and “ agonizing ” paint a grim image of a prolonged, torturous death. Owen’s message? War is not honorable or heroic. It’s a nightmarish ordeal of unimaginable suffering.

He conveys this with a comparison to a nightmare. Fear and dread evoke in readers, ensuring they understand the true horror of mustard gas.

“Sweet dreams made of mustard gas, but war brings nightmares of brutal reality.”

Comparison of the dying man’s struggle to a nightmare

Wilfred Owen’s poem “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” unveils the devastating reality of war .

This stanza compares the dying man’s experience to a nightmare, signifying the intense agony he’s facing. Owen is demonstrating the nightmarish reality of war and its consequences on individuals.

He also highlights the mental trauma soldiers can suffer due to memories of war that might haunt them . Using vivid imagery and descriptive language, he challenges the notion that war is heroic or noble.

He effectively communicates the immense suffering faced by soldiers and disillusions the glorified image related to war .

Owen’s sarcastic warning about the false perception of war

Wilfred Owen, a WWI soldier, puts his personal experiences into “ Dulce et Decorum Est .” He challenges the thought of dying for one’s country being noble. He wants to warn people against the glamorizing of battle.

He uses irony and satire to show the brutal, dehumanizing reality of war. He depicts its gruesome consequences with powerful imagery and language. He contrasts the public’s perception and the actual horror.

Owen targets Jessie Pope, a war journalist who wrote poems to get people to enlist. He sarcastically addresses her in stanza four, showing her naive view of war.

His words are made more meaningful by his own experience as a soldier. He emphasizes the importance of questioning beliefs about war.

Owen’s warning about the false perception of war is a critique of its romanticization. He uses vivid language, irony, and satire to challenge society’s acceptance and show the true devastation of war.

Analysis of Stanza 4: Critique of War Glorification

In Stanza 4 of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est,” we delve into a powerful critique of war glorification. This section will explore Owen’s address to war journalist Jessie Pope, the vivid depiction of suffering caused by mustard gas, and his condemnation of the glorification of war and the concept of dying for one’s country. So, let’s dive into the searing analysis that challenges the romanticized notions surrounding the horrors of war.

Owen’s address to war journalist Jessie Pope

Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” is a scathing critique of war journalist Jessie Pope and her romanticized portrayal of war. In Stanza 4, Owen directly addresses Pope, exposing the disconnect between her glorified version and the real harshness of war.

He emphasizes the brutality and pain of soldiers with vivid descriptions of mustard gas. He condemns those who say dying for one’s country is honorable, showing the stark contrast between their rhetoric and the true horrors of battle.

Throughout the poem, Owen dismantles the glamorization of war. He invites readers to reconsider the glorified image perpetuated by figures like Pope. His words come from his own World War I experiences and show the dissonance between the ideal and the grim reality. His powerful words still ring true today, reminding us of the cost of warfare.

In summary, Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” challenges Jessie Pope’s romanticized view of war. He reveals the suffering of soldiers and criticizes the idea of heroism in battle. His personal experiences create a powerful reminder of the true price of warfare.

Vivid depiction of the suffering caused by mustard gas

Wilfred Owen’s poem, “ Dulce et Decorum Est ,” vividly paints the immense suffering mustard gas caused during WWI. Through powerful descriptions and vivid imagery, Owen expresses the horrifying truth of war and its devastating effect on soldiers.

The pain and helplessness of an individual exposed to mustard gas is hauntingly conveyed. Readers can almost see the horrific effects of this weapon of mass destruction , indiscriminately harming both enemy forces and innocent civilians. This stark portrayal challenges any romanticized ideas of war.

Owen includes specific details to enhance his depiction. He describes the soldiers as if drugged, drained of life and unable to function. It shows not only the physical toll , but also the psychological and emotional trauma .

The suffering caused by mustard gas in “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” serves as a reminder of what those involved in war must face. It questions heroic and patriotic ideals, exposing the true horrors of the battlefield. Through his poignant writing, Owen encourages society to think deeply about war , highlighting its destructive nature.

Through precise language, Wilfred Owen effectively portrays the suffering caused by mustard gas in “ Dulce et Decorum Est .” His purposeful depiction serves as an important critique against narratives that glorify war, while shedding light on its human cost.

Condemnation of the glorification of war and the nobility of dying for one’s country

Wilfred Owen’s iconic poem, “ Dulce et Decorum Est “, boldly challenges the notion that war is noble. Through vivid imagery, he reveals the harsh reality of war and its devastating effects on soldiers.

In stanza 4, Owen criticizes war journalist Jessie Pope for her romanticized view of war. He paints a picture of the intense suffering caused by mustard gas, emphasizing the difference between the glorified perception of war and its brutal actuality.

The poem’s soldiers are subjected to agonizing deaths from mustard gas, dispelling any illusions of honor or nobility in dying for one’s country. Owen reveals a stark contrast between public perception and the harsh reality experienced by those on the frontlines.

Ultimately, Owen’s “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” serves as a powerful indictment against those who seek to romanticize war. His compelling language and vivid descriptions challenge conventional narratives surrounding warfare and force readers to confront the harrowing truths behind patriotic rhetoric. Stripping away the glamour of war, one gas attack at a time – this is Wilfred Owen’s poetic masterpiece.

In the conclusion, we will summarize the main points discussed, examine the overall impact of Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” in conveying the harsh reality of war, and reflect on Owen’s purpose and message. By doing so, we gain a deeper understanding of the profound significance of this influential literary work.

Summary of the main points discussed

Wilfred Owen’s poem “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” uncovers the ugly truth of war .

Stanza 1 speaks of the weariness and grief of the soldiers, their physical state and mental distress. They are shown as jaded and disheartened, almost wishing for death.

Stanza 2 examines the pandemonium of a gas attack. It illustrates the soldiers’ reaction and the ineffectiveness of the protective gear. They appear confused and drained, as if under the influence of drugs.

Stanza 3 paints a picture of the fatal impact of mustard gas, comparing it to a horror. It also includes Owen’s critique of the false idea of war, challenging traditional beliefs of bravery.

In Stanza 4 , Owen addresses Jessie Pope and portrays the pain of mustard gas. He denounces the glorification of war and decries the notion that dying for one’s country is honorable.

These points reveal the true nature of war – its physical and emotional toll on soldiers, its chaos and destruction, and its dehumanizing effects. By bringing these issues to light, Owen strives to challenge society’s opinions of war.

War: where heroic dreams turn into gruesome nightmares, as displayed in Dulce et Decorum Est .

Overall impact of the poem in conveying the reality of war

Wilfred Owen’s poem “ Dulce et Decorum Est ” has a deep effect on portraying war’s harsh truth. Through its vivid and eerie imagery, Owen shows the physical and emotional burden that war puts on soldiers. By breaking the poem down, it’s obvious Owen wants to honestly depict war’s horrors.

Stanza 1 explains the soldiers’ worn-out and deplorable state, illustrating the aftermath of extended warfare. He also looks into their inner state, emphasizing hopelessness and even a wish for dying to escape their pain.

Stanza 2 details the gas attack and its ensuing pandemonium. Owen portrays their reaction, which involves useless protective gear and confusion. The soldiers are drugged and sapped, amplifying the chaos of war.

Stanza 3 emphasizes the torturous death caused by mustard gas. The drawn-out way of dying is likened to a nightmare, intensifying the terror. Sardonically, Owen warns against war’s romanticized aim.

Stanza 4 is Owen’s criticism of war journalist Jessie Pope. He vividly paints the mustard gas suffering to counter Pope’s idealized version of war. He also condemns war’s glorification and questions its nobility.

In conclusion, this powerful poem has a major impact in showing war’s reality. It forces readers to face soldiers’ physical and emotional traumas every day. Through his striking descriptions and fiery critique of war adoration, Wilfred Owen reveals the real terrors behind patriotic principles.

Reflection on Owen’s purpose and message

Wilfred Owen’s poem, “ Dulce et Decorum Est “, creates a powerful reflection on war. It’s vivid descriptions and emotional imagery effectively portray the immense suffering endured by soldiers. Owen’s aim is to challenge the glorification of war and reveal the false perception that dying for a country is noble . He paints a terrifying picture of war as a nightmare filled with exhaustion, misery, and chaos. Mustard gas is also a major part of this portrayal, emphasizing how it can dehumanize and leave soldiers defenseless.

This poem delves into Owen’s message, aimed at establishing an impact on readers . He conveys soldiers’ physical conditions with “sagging backs” in the first stanza, and their emotional despair in the longing for death. The second part focuses on the chaos and confusion during a gas attack and the uselessness of protective gear.

The fourth stanza is a condemnation of war journalist Jessie Pope . It vividly describes the suffering caused by mustard gas, and aims to provoke a reevaluation of society’s views on war.

These details demonstrate Owen’s goal to dismantle any romanticized ideas of war . He wants to expose the grim reality of war and dispute the notion that it is honorable or glorious.

Some Facts About “The War Inside: An Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est”:

  • ✅ Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum” portrays war as deadly, bloody, and disgusting. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Owen challenges the idea of dying for your country as heroic and suggests that it is instead disgusting and could cause hatred towards one’s own country. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ The poem vividly describes the physical and psychological impact of war, particularly the horrors of gas warfare. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Owen uses vivid imagery and poetic devices to convey the cruel truths of war and expose the glorified image presented by propaganda. (Source: Cram.com)
  • ✅ “Dulce et Decorum Est” breaks the conventions of early 20th-century modernism and idealistic war poetry, providing a haunting and realistic portrayal of war. (Source: Bartleby.com)

FAQs about The War Inside: An Analysis Of Wilfred Owen’S Dulce Et Decorum Est

What is the meaning of the phrase “dulce et decorum est pro patria mori”.

The phrase “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” translates to “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.” The phrase represents the glorification of war and the noble sacrifice of one’s life for the nation.

How does Wilfred Owen challenge the idea of dying for one’s country in “Dulce et Decorum Est”?

Wilfred Owen argues against the idea of dying for one’s country in his poem. He portrays war as deadly, bloody, and disgusting, emphasizing the harsh realities and the suffering experienced by soldiers. Owen suggests that the glorification of war is a deception and that the actual experience of warfare can make one resent their own country.

What literary devices does Wilfred Owen use in “Dulce et Decorum Est”?

Wilfred Owen employs various literary devices in his poem. He uses vivid imagery to create striking and realistic pictures of war, such as the soldiers being compared to “old beggars” and their twisted bodies. Owen also uses iambic pentameter to convey a sense of depression and melancholy, interrupted by spondees to reflect the horrors of war. Additionally, he uses harsh tones and language choices to emphasize the suffering and unfair deaths of the soldiers.

How does Wilfred Owen criticize war propaganda in “Dulce et Decorum Est”?

In “Dulce et Decorum Est,” Wilfred Owen criticizes war propaganda by exposing its deceitful nature. He contrasts the glorified image of war presented in propaganda with the gruesome realities experienced by soldiers. Owen challenges the idea that war is glorious and noble, condemning the dehumanization and atrocities that accompany it.

What impact did the mustard gas have on soldiers during World War I?

Mustard gas, used as a weapon of attack during World War I, had horrific effects on soldiers. It caused blisters, acute vomiting, internal and external bleeding, and could take weeks to kill its victims. The use of mustard gas intensified the suffering and physical and psychological damage experienced by soldiers on the battlefield.

Who influenced Wilfred Owen’s work and contributed to the publication of his poems?

Siegfried Sassoon, a poet and editor, had a significant impact on Wilfred Owen’s life and work. After Owen’s death, Sassoon compiled and published his poems in 1920. Sassoon’s guidance and support helped to bring recognition to Owen’s powerful and haunting poetry that depicted the horrors of war.

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Dulce et Decorum Est

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Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori .

This poem is in the public domain.

More by this poet

Winter song.

The browns, the olives, and the yellows died, And were swept up to heaven; where they glowed Each dawn and set of sun till Christmastide, And when the land lay pale for them, pale-snowed, Fell back, and down the snow-drifts flamed and flowed.

The Unreturning

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Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Summary and Analysis

Table of Contents

Summary and Analysis of Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

Relevant background.

Wilfred Owen served as a Lieutenant in the British army during the First World War, ironically he was killed shortly before the Armistice was signed. Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum Est is a compelling poem trying to depict the helplessness of soldiers caught in a Gas Chamber. The poet describes the general condition of the men involved in the war, their condition after a shock of a gas attack and then describing the effect of it on someone who lives through it.

Stanza- Wise Summary

Stanza 1 – describes the condition of the men

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The poem begins with a description of a group of soldiers retreating from the front lines of the battlefield. The soldiers are bent over with fatigue and are compared to ‘old beggars under sacks’ clearly indicating the crippled state of the soldiers in the war. They are unable to walk because of their ill-health. The soldiers are coughing like ‘hags’ and kept on cursing and walking through the ‘sludge’. The men are exhausted ‘men marched asleep.’ Many of the soldiers have lost their boots, are seen limping on ‘blood shod’, heightening the grim scene. ‘All’ of them were lame and blind. The hyperbole here emphasizes the terrible condition that the men were in. The repetition of the fatigued state of the soldiers is evident throughout the first stanza, ‘old beggars under sacks’, ‘men marched asleep’, and then in the final lines of the stanza, ‘Drunk with fatigue.’ The soldiers are so tired that they did not hear the droppings of the Five-Nines (gas shells) behind them.

Stanza 2 – describes the gas attack

Someone notices the gas shell and shouts, ‘Gas! Gas! Quick boys!’ The soldiers are immediately transported into an ‘ecstasy of fumbling.’ They are in a hurry to put on the mask before the deadly poison can take their lives. All except one are successful. He was found ‘yelling and stumbling/ And floundering like a man in fire or lime.’ The narrator looks back and finds the soldier’s protective mask being engulfed into the ‘green sea’. The narrator and the other comrades look upon the ‘helpless sight’ of the soldier dying in agony, ‘he plunges at me guttering, choking and drowning.’

Stanza 3 – recurring dream

Owen makes it clear in this two-line stanza that he can’t stop dreaming about the soldier’s horrific death. This probably links to the neurasthenia (shell shock) he developed.

Stanza 4 – dying soldier

Mood and Tone

The mood of the poem is reflective. The poet is thinking about his own condition in First World War.

The tone of the poem is both ironical and sarcastic. The poet tries to present the realities of war through images and haunting words which on the other hand contradict the reality. It is indeed not sweet to die for one’s country.

Use of Imagery

What is most noticeable to the readers in Owen’s poetry is the vividness of his imagery. Dulce Et Decorum Est is full of fine imagery. The poet had been successful in bringing the horrors of the war come alive to the eyes of the readers. Some of the imageries presented in metaphors, others are presented in graphic language that describes the scene as the narrator sees it or remembers it.

Some of the imageries are discussed below:

“We cursed through sludge” captures and presents the frustrations of the men who were mentally and physically drained of their energies as they marched across the battlefield.

To describe the difficulty faced by the soldiers who have lost their boots, the poet uses imagery to intensify the moment, “But limped on, blood-shod.’ This imagery graphically represented the condition of the men’s feet. A sense of pity is felt by the readers reading those lines.

Other phrases vivid with imagery are “white eyes writhing in the face”, “blood gargling out from the forth-corrupted lungs”, “floundering like a man in fire or lime.” All these imageries are intended to contrast with the Latin maxim from which the poem’s title has been taken, Dulce Et Decorum Est that is “Sweet and Proper” to undergo the disembodiment, suffering and death for one’s own country.

Alliteration :

Alliteration is the close repetition of the consonant sounds at the beginning of words to facilitate narration.

Examples of alliteration in the poem are

  • Knock kneed
  • Watch the white eyes writhing in the face
  • Dulce Et Decorum Est

A simile is a figure of speech in which two dissimilar objects are compared and the comparison is made clear by the use of terms like ‘like’, ‘such as’ and so on. Examples of similes in Dulce Et Decorum Est are:

  • ‘ Bent double, like old beggars under sacks’
  • ‘coughing like hags’
  • ‘His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin’

Allusion is a reference to other works or cultures in prose and poetry. Here, allusions in the poem are in Line 20 and Line 27-28. In line 20, there is an allusion to the devil- that is evil.

In lines 27-28, the allusion is the most quoted lines of the 20th century.

Neoligism :

A new word – ‘bloodshod’ sounds like blood shot so emphasizes the exhaustion that the men felt. Also, it relates to the word ‘shod’ which means wearing shoes. It helps to dehumanise the soldiers as it is something you ‘do’ to horses. It also helps to create the image of the men staggering along ‘lame’ after many had ‘lost their boots’ bloody and painfully.

Transferred epithet:

In a transferred epithet the adjective or adverb is transferred from the noun it logically belongs with, to another one which fits it grammatically but not logically. So in “dreamless night”, dreamless is a transferred epithet. The exact meaning of the sentence is “night when I (or whoever) slept without dreaming,” since a night can’t actually dream anyway. Foolish idea: It is not the idea itself that is foolish, but the person who comes up with it. She rubbed her sleepy eyes: Her eyes are not sleepy; she is. Knowing smile: The smile itself does not know, it is the person who smiles that knows.

‘clumsy helmets’ is used by Owen to highlight the panic that the men are in during the gas attack.

Personal pronouns:

1st person – ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘my’

2nd person – ‘He’

3rd person – ‘You’ ‘my friend’

In the poem, he uses the first, second and third persons. He uses, for example, “we” in lines 2,3 and 18, and “I” in line 14, “my” (line 15) and “me” (line 16). We find the second person singular when he wants to make us think and make a reflection of the cruel reality of wars, for example: in lines 21 and 25.

Eventually, we can see the third person singular in the first stanza when he is describing how the soldiers were going to fight (their physical problems).

He uses the past and the present tenses. We can see the first person when he is describing the action of the poem, whereas we find the present tense when he talks about his dream (that man yelling out in his nightmare) to emphasise that it is a persistent affliction. As a curiosity, we must say that the “you” whom he addresses in line 17 can imply people in general but also perhaps, one person in particular, the “my friend” identified as Jessie Pope. Jessie Pope for one perhaps, his appeal to whom as “my friend” is doubtless ironic.

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Summary and Analysis of Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Owen served as a Lieutenant in the British army during the First World War, ironically he was killed shortly before the Armistice was signed. Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum Est is a compelling poem trying to depict the helplessness of soldiers caught in a Gas Chamber. The poet describes the general condition of the men involved in the war, their condition after a shock of a gas attack and then describing the effect of it on someone who lives through it.

Summary of Dulce Et Decorum Est :

Though the poem is not directly divided into so many stanzas we can discern three basic movements and a climax. We can divide the poem into three stanzas.

First stanza –

The first stanza or movement might comprise of the first eight lines . Here Owen is describing the soldiers as unwilling to fight and marching in their sleep. They are dog tired. It does not matter if bombs keep exploding near them. They just walk on to their place of rest. The stanza brings out the pathetic existence of the soldiers.

Second stanza –

The next eight lines comprise the second stanza or movement. Here the action begins abruptly as in

another poem called Exposure by the same master. The gas attack comes suddenly like a bad news and engulfs one weary soldier who got confused or too tired to wear his mask. The soldier drowns in the green sea of the gas but soon re-surfaces only to garb at the poet and make him see death up close and personal.

Third stanza –

The remaining lines make the hulk of the poem. The movement loses its pace once more as if after a sudden storm there comes an uneasy calm. This part is the most appealing of the poem. It’s ironic that the most offensive lines which describe the horrific after effects of death are the most appealing. The dead soldier is carried on a cart as if it is dead cattle. Indeed, Owen compares soldiers

with so many cattle. The poet describes the corruption of the lungs and the gargling of the blood that frequently wells up whenever the cart gets a bump. The soldiers body instead of being compared with a peaceful child as has been done traditionally by war poets (including Rimbaud in Asleep in the Valley), the soldier’s face is compared with a sin-sick devil. The readers are disgusted to see this anti-heroic, even anti-humanitarian image. This goes along with the bland statement that after seeing this spectacle one should never say that its glorious for one to die for the nation.

Critical Appreciation:

One of the best anti-war poems of Owen punctures the age old idea of heroics associated with war and soldiers. As in usual with Owen, the tone of the lines is bitter and satiric. Yet this time the satire is more direct. Ironically, (which is one of the prime devices of Owen’s expression) the words do not really mark war but the casualty of war. This description of the casualty is rather graphic.

Interestingly, the words those pertains to war, rather belongs to the register of war like – ‘haunting flares’, ‘five-nines’ ‘helmets’ etc. are rather too specific for the casual reader of the poems. However, we should keep in mind the fact that, in order to appreciate the poems in a proper manner, we should have an understanding of the diction and register of warfare. However, as already mentioned, most of the words, specially, which comes towards the end of the poem are specific to disease and death and that too stripped of all glories.

The words like, ‘drowning’, ‘writhing’, ‘choking’ etc. are symptoms of the symptoms of death itself. Closely associated with the idea of the choice of words are Owen’s ear for music and the words he chooses is based on his desire to create a sad music of bleakness. The words like ‘fumbling’, ‘stumbling’, ‘gargling’ do create an eerie music that chills our spines and yet we cannot deny that they create music. so instead of hearing the still sad music of humanity along with Wordsworth what we are hearing is the ‘sad sadist music of war’. And all this music is created by words and their mutual plays.

Structurally the poem could be divided into three movements. The first shows the painful trudge of the soldier through mud and other natural obstacles in a field of war. Owen highlights that these soldiers got tired not from battles but from trekking and waiting while death is often swift and unannounced. These soldiers are so tired that they don’t even care if bombs fall around them. They look towards their ‘distant rest’ and care for nothing else. The second movement contrasting with the first involves rapid action. They are attacked by gas and while most of them could wear their masks, gaseous death capture one soldier unawares.

He is confused in front of painful death. He seems to have been in a stupor from tiredness from the long trek. The third and final movement is again slow and the most graphic of all where the poet describes the result of the gas attack on the poor soldier. How his lungs got corrupted due to the gas and how the movement of the blood makes certain sounds while they carry the dead soldier on a cart. The climax of this episode comes when the poet declares that after looking at this farce one should not say that it will be glorious to die for the nation.

The comparisons of soldiers with hags and beggars itself is enough to carry out the intention of the poem too minimize the heroic image of the soldier in front of the reading public. Instead of calling them as heroes the poem calls the soldiers diminutive creatures. Other similes where the corrupted lungs are compared with cancer or the face is compared with that of the devil himself is deliberately made to look the business of war rather disrespectful.

Tone of the Poem: The poem is anti-war in tone. The narrator describes the whole incident in first person manner thereby putting himself among the helpless soldiers so as to give the poem a real picture. From the beginning of the poem, the soldiers are shown as lame deaf, blind etc. then it narrates the death incident. It is followed by Owen’s universal message to the warmonger. In all these incidents, we don’t have any glorious things to see. This is the reality of any war. It only causes destruction of youths and their dreams. Concerning invocation and request and the message of reality, the poem is a parody about war and its delusions. Owen’s intention is only to present the reality of war and thereby mocking the ambiguous sentimentality about war.

Conclusion:

Finally, we can say that Owen has realistically portrayed the horrid picture of the battlefield. In other poems also Owen has portrayed the futility of war. In a global world as we live in, Owen’s poetic oeuvre is typically significant which can bring a perfect world of peace and out of destruction. This poem also projects the horror of the battlefield as well as the mental pain of the soldiers Owen directly hits the romantic illusion of war and attacks the warmongers. The Latin phrase, which was used at the time of the World War I, is proved to be useless. Owen requests people not to tell illusions to the children. It is universal in tone to request not to believe any glory of war.

Go through the Solved Questions

Describe the irony in the title of the poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est

Dulce Et Decorum Est as an Anti-war poem.

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dulce et decorum est analysis owen

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Hi I using this for revising for my English test ? Is that ok , because I am taking ideas and understanding the poem from here. So do I need licenses,or is it free to use ?

yup its free to use! i thnk u r trying it for the frst time…..

Really it’s a tragedy Why war?

I hv been using this site fr quit a long tym nw…nd I fnd it really helpful…da stanza wise explntns f da poems realy hlps a lot…

Brief and to the point. Most convenient for a hurried overview. Thank you

I’ve always prepared for my exams from this site. Thank you @beamingnotes.com.

It’s been a great help for me…..it saves during exams…thaks a lot

I use this site often and has been really helpful Beaming Notes;-)

Excellent answers… keep doing this….

it`s really help me …..thanks & keep doing……excellent

Thanks a lot very heplful And an excellent work

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Dulce et Decorum Est Introduction

In a nutshell.

If you're not familiar with Wilfred Owen , don't worry, Shmoop is here to help. Though you may not have heard of Owen, he set the tone for an entire generation of men and women writing and thinking about the events that just rocked the world – World War I . Between 1914 and 1918, over nine million people died. Entire cities were razed to the ground. Nations crumbled, only to be re-formed amidst political turmoil and enough bad blood to launch another war ( World War II , to be precise) a few short decades later. American troops joined the war in 1918, bringing with them the deadliest weapon yet: influenza . More people died of flu than war injuries. Caught in a war that was waged primarily in trenches (big ditches that filled with mud, rats, and rainwater), Owen began to find it hard to justify all the suffering and death he witnessed. He was perfectly willing to sacrifice his life for king and country, but, like many other people, he'd like to make sure that his sacrifice was actually needed . Increasingly convinced that the war seemed to be carrying on beyond the point of reason, Owen began to write poetry that emphasized the irony of his situation. He was in good company: as it turned out, lots of men (including Rupert Brooke , Siegfried Sassoon , John McCrae, and others) were feeling like their lives in the trenches were becoming farcical. Owen, however, managed to capture the division between the elevated language of nationalism and his reality, a world that suddenly seemed full of the blood of his nearest friends. Owen's experience rang true to a lot of the servicemen and women who contributed to the war efforts of the time. Owen's gripping realism remains important today because, well, it's so real . When we read his poetry, we feel as though we're with him on the field, watching as men suffer in a frantic struggle to stay alive.

Why Should I Care?

Let's face it, there are many people out there who write about war. In addition to the news, there are blogs, journals, memoirs, radio shows, and video games that commemorate, re-live, or even celebrate the action of the war zone. After the press is done talking and the bloggers stop blogging, however, do we really know what it's like out there on battlefields? Unless you've been in through it yourself, or have a friend or family member in the Armed Forces, chances are you don't. Well, that's where Owen comes in. See, soldiers in World War I may not have had the technology of today's troops, but they probably share similar fears and even similar pain. At first glance, this poem may seem vehemently anti-war – but it actually directs most of its bitterness at the people who rally around the troops without ever understanding exactly what they're sending those troops off to do. Owen spent years on the battlefields. By most standards, he has earned the right to call it like he sees it. Reading "Dulce et Decorum Est" may not be a walk in the park. But Owen's struggling with a difficult issue: he's trying to get a country to pay attention to the fact that people are dying. Whether or not you support of a particular war (or even war in general), it might be a good idea to listen to what he has to say.

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Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum est: Summary & Analysis

  • Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum…

War is usually a bloody series of battles between 2 or more factions. Usually, it is between different tribes or countries. In Dulce et Decorum, Wilfred Owen describes war as being deadly, very bloody, and disgusting where soldiers are innocently killed, ripped apart, and treated like beggars without hope or worth.

However, during wars, countries generally tell their people that it is an honor or privilege to die for your country; that is what ‘Dulce et decorum et pro-Patria Mori’ means. However, in Owen’s poem, he argues that in reality, it is not heroism, but it is quite disgusting and could even make you hate your country.

In the first stanza, Owen portrays the impression that war makes the soldiers more exhausted and hag-like. “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks.” In ‘Bent double,’ Owen forms the impression that joining the war causes an enormous amount of fatigue and exhaustion. Soldiers are working until their bodies are twisted and contorted, making their experience seem completely different than the sort of marching we usually see in military parades.

It is comparable to beggars who have terrible health, sickly bodies, and old hags. It’s similar to women who are cramped up and wrinkled with curved backs, not all the proud and glorious soldiers marching in a much-organized fashion; this leaves an impression that war is boring and exhausting, where soldiers are working like slaves all day with bags so huge that it appears that you are under the bag, not that the bag is over you.  They are abnormally deformed with their knees closed together while their ankles far apart.

In stanza 1 again, Owen gives the impression that war is disappointing and makes the soldiers appear drunk, or even like zombies from the exhaust, continuing their fight to survive. Even without a gas bomb or a battle, they are still like zombies. “ Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots that. Of disappointed shells that dropped behind,” ‘Drunk’ shows that they were in a terrible physical state that they seemingly appeared to be drunk, not able to walk, looking mad, and crazy.

‘Fatigue’ here reflects that it is not caused by alcohol abuse, but due to overdose of work, making them weary and tired. They seem sick or drunk-like even before they started a battle or survived a gas bomb. ‘Deaf to the hoots’ further shows how handicapped they are from war; they even lose their senses. ‘Hoots’ shows that the shells are useless and they became gentle like owls, this might be because they are used to the sound of shells.

Now, it is like background noise for them. Also ‘disappointing’ might suggest that the bombs not only are useless for the enemies but are disappointing the soldiers because they want the shells to hit them, so it could put an end to their misery and torture, letting them eternally. This gives the impression that war promotes hopelessness, making soldiers want to die as they are worn-out by work.

In stanza 2, Owen gives the impression that war is clumsy and may be slow or too easy to survive. “GAS! Gas! Quick, boys! – an ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time”. The ‘GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!’ shows shock and the repetition of the shock, reflecting the panic and confusion in war. GAS is in capitals portrays the yell of warning and panic, while an exclamation mark reflects a feeling of shock and surprise.

It is repeated in exclamation marks to convey how much time it took for them to realize, amid all the confusion and chaos. ‘An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time.’ ‘Ecstasy’ shows how much chaos there was by comparing it to a drug effect, previously they were compared to drunks and now they appear to be drugged (overflowing with emotions) from all the confusion and disorganization of the soldiers drained of their strength. ‘Fumbling’ and ‘fitting’ have alliteration with the letter F that makes the reader think of fear subliminally. This gives the impression that war was disorganized and just a constant battle to stop yourself from being the victim of the survival series.

In the 2 nd stanza, Owen conveys that soldiers die slowly and devil-like. It also shows the helplessness of watching the soldiers die in disgusting, melting-like ways. “Floundering like a man in fire or lime” . ‘Floundering’ shows how bad the struggle to survive is by comparing it to a struggling fish trying to live on land, jumping around helplessly, this is like a man burning helplessly, plunging about without hope.

‘Fire’ or ‘lime’ shows how bad the gas was, burning him like acid or fire from the inside, comparing it to the most torturous thing people can imagine experiencing. This creates an impression that war is terribly disgusting and VERY painful.

In the 3 rd stanza, it shows how war is as bad as your eye can see or even imagine, Owen compares the scene of the dying man slowly from the gas to the worst of nightmares that haunt you every night. “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunged at me guttering, choking, drowning”.

Because the trio of verbs are verbs that end in –ing, it gives the sense that the action is in the present tense. The soldiers die over and over in his dream, making the suffering of wartime casualties never-ending. Also, these three verbs (‘guttering, choking, and drowning’) are brutal, merciless verbs.

He ‘plunged’ at him shows how he is struggling like a fish but is helpless and the narrator cannot help him while he watching him slowly get murdered by the fire and lime-like gas, ‘my helpless sight’.

Owen described how disgusting war and death are and then sarcastically warns the reader that war is not like what children and teenagers think it is, but that is the impression the country gives to them, which is nothing but an old lie. ‘My friend, you would not tell with such high zest the old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.’

He says ‘my friend’ talking to the reader, this is the reality of war, it is all death, however ‘my friend,’ if you still didn’t understand that it is the complete opposite of the lies the countries tell to encourage you to join the war. In a sarcastic tone, showing that it is obvious that it is not what children and teenagers think of as all glory, victory, and pride. With great enthusiasm and energy, you would not tell them confidently that it is sweet and right to die for your country because on the inside you know you are wrong.

In the poem, Owen gives the impression and explains the reality of war. The terrible reality is described by the gruesomeness and the state in which the soldiers try to survive, wasting their lives innocently. He is showing how it is not at all like what the people think and encourage the children to go to war. All that about glory and right and sweetness to DIE for your country is nothing but lies to persuade you into war by tricking you into thinking it is all energy and victory.

After coming back from war, your whole life changes, you have seen the worst a human can see, IF you come back properly, you would not tell the children, ‘it is nice and sweet to die for your country’, with big enthusiasm and pride, but by knowing in your heart that it is a lie.

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  • Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen: Poem Analysis

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Tutor and Freelance Writer. Science Teacher and Lover of Essays. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2023 | Creative Commons 4.0

You said ‘”He plunged at me guttering, choking, drowning”. Because the trio of verbs are verbs hat end in –ing, it gives the sense that the action is in the present tense.’, however, rather evidently, this is in the past tense; due to the fact that he “plunged” (past tense for those of you who do not understand basic English lexicon). For instance, I could say ‘he was flying’ and although the verb ends in ‘-ing’ it is still in the past tense.

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dulce et decorum est analysis owen

‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ by Wilford Owen

dulce et decorum est analysis owen

Wilfred Owen, the poet, tells of his first-hand experience in war. He tells the tale of tired and wounded soldiers walking through dirt and sludge. Suddenly, there is a warning about gas, which the soldiers hurriedly and awkwardly heed by donning their helmets. Unfortunately, one soldier is too late in donning the helmet and his companions watch him ‘drowning’ in the gas. The unfortunate soldier was thrown in the back of a wagon, where it is implied that he was left to die. The persona points out that if you (the reader/ listener) could have witnessed these events, then you would not tell children the old lie: dulce et decorum est pro-Patria Mori (It is sweet and honourable to die for one’s country).

LITERARY DEVICES

1. SIMILE Stanza 1, line 1: This simile introduces the exhaustion of the soldiers.

Stanza 1, line 2: This emphasises not only the tiredness of the soldiers but the fact that they might be sick as well.

Stanza 2, line 19: This device gives a visual image of how the soldier physically reacted to the gas. Floundering implies flopping about, therefore, the soldier was flopping about violently. We know it was violent because fire and lime illicit excruciating pain.

Stanza 4, line 39: This device gives a visual image of the expression on the soldier’s face. This is a particularly grotesque image that highlights the soldier in the throes of death.

Stanza 4, line 39: Cancer is a horrible disease that takes many lives on a daily basis. Therefore, to compare this dying soldier’s face to this disease is to emphasize the agony that the soldier was going through, which was reflected on his face.

Stanza 4, lines 39-40: This is another graphic comparison that compares the soldier’s face to incurable sores. ‘Sores’ is a disgusting visual image of degradation which, in turn, highlights the soldier in the throes of death.

ALLITERATION Stanza 1, line 7: This device points to the level of fatigue that the soldiers were undergoing.

Stanza 1, lines 7-9: This highlights not only the fatigue that the soldiers were feeling but the fact that they were injured as well.

Stanza 4, lines 29-30: This device highlights a visually graphic death mask. The soldier is in the throes of impending death.

IMPORTANT WORDS/ PHRASES 3. ‘Bent double’ The soldiers are bent over with fatigue. It is very significant that the poet/ persona initiates the poem by highlighting the exhaustion of the soldiers. He is trying to emphasize the harsh realities of war.

4. ‘haunting flares’ Flares are typically used to signal distress. The flare is fired from a flare gun, in the air, where rescue crafts, at sea or in the air, can have a general idea of the location of the soldiers who are in distress. Therefore, to describe the flares as haunting implies that the soldiers are severely distressed by their situation.

5.’ deaf even to the hoots of tired outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.’ Five-nines are German 5.9 artillery shells. This means that bullets were firing around them while they were walking. The extent of the soldiers’ tiredness is also emphasized at this point because the soldiers do not hear the shells going off around them.

6. ‘An ecstasy of fumbling’ The word ecstasy, which is used to describe fumbling, implies the level of panic that this one word (gas) elicits. The soldiers’ were so tired that they could not even hear the five nines, but this one word immediately woke them up.

7. ‘Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, as under a green sea, I saw him drowning.’ This describes exactly what the outside world looks like through the lens of a gas mask. The effect of the gas is seen in the mention of the word ‘drown’. It implies that the unfortunate soldier could not breathe.

8. ‘He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.’ This is the very graphic result of breathing in the gas. It is a very violent reaction, as seen in the word ‘plunge’. The dying soldier did not simply reach for the persona/poet, but he did so in a desperate manner, while all the time being unable to breathe.

9. ‘wagon that we flung him in’  The statement implies that the soldier was left for dead in a wagon. No regard was shown to him, through the use of the word ‘flung’. This implies that war is heartless and tragic.

10 .’Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.’  This statement literally means it is sweet and honourable to die for one’s country. The persona/ poet clearly does NOT believe this to be the case. 

MOOD/ ATMOSPHERE The mood of the poem is reflective. The persona/ poet is thinking about his experiences in WWI. TONE The general tone of the poem is both sarcastic and ironic. The persona/ poet tries to present a visual of the realities of war while using haunting words that contradict that reality. It is, in fact, NOT sweet and honourable to die for one’s country. THEMATIC CATEGORIZATION War, death, survival,  patriotism

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COMMENTS

  1. Dulce et Decorum Est Poem Summary and Analysis

    "Dulce et Decorum Est" is a poem by the English poet Wilfred Owen. Like most of Owen's work, it was written between August 1917 and September 1918, while he was fighting in World War 1. Owen is known for his wrenching descriptions of suffering in war.

  2. Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen (Poem + Analysis)

    'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen, challenging romantic notions of war, is a robust anti-war poem that makes the reader face the petrifying harrowing truths of war with graphic imagery and blood-curdling nuances. View Poetry + Review Corner Poem Analyzed by Elise Dalli B.A. Honors Degree in English and Communications

  3. Analysis of the Poem "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen

    "Dulce et Decorum Est" is a poem Wilfred Owen wrote following his experiences fighting in the trenches in northern France during World War I. "Here is a gas poem ... done yesterday, " he wrote to his mother from the recovery hospital in Craiglockhart, Scotland, in 1917. He was 24 years old.

  4. A Short Analysis of Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est'

    Focusing in particular on one moment in the First World War, when Owen and his platoon are attacked with poison gas, 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is a studied analysis of suffering and perhaps the most famous anti-war poem ever written. Dulce et Decorum Est Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

  5. Dulce et Decorum Est Analysis

    Dulce et Decorum Est Analysis - Literary devices and Poetic devices Definition and Examples of Literary Terms Dulce et Decorum Est Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

  6. Wilfred Owen: Poems "Dulce et Decorum est" Summary and Analysis

    Wilfred Owen: Poems Summary and Analysis of "Dulce et Decorum est" Summary The boys are bent over like old beggars carrying sacks, and they curse and cough through the mud until the "haunting flares" tell them it is time to head toward their rest. As they march some men are asleep, others limp with bloody feet as they'd lost their boots.

  7. Dulce et Decorum Est Summary & Analysis

    The poem Dulce et Decorum Est is a prominent anti-war poem written by Wilfred Owen about the events surrounding the First World War. Owen served as a Lieutenant in the War and felt the soldiers' pain and the real truth behind war. In the poem, he creates an hierarchical division of events.

  8. Dulce et Decorum Est Summary

    "Dulce et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen is a poem about the horrors of war as experienced by a soldier on the front lines of World War I. The speaker depicts soldiers trudging through the...

  9. Dulce et Decorum Est Analysis

    The images used throughout "Dulce et Decorum Est," then, are characterized by intense, gruesome precision: "we cursed through sludge," "blood-shod," "flound'ring like a man in fire or lime."

  10. Dulce et Decorum est Poem Analysis

    Poem Analysis Analysis: "Dulce et Decorum Est" Content Warning: The section features references to and descriptions of war and its effects on the human body, physical descriptions of the effects of chemical warfare, and discussions of post-traumatic stress disorder. Owen's speaker is a soldier in a regiment for the Allied Forces.

  11. Dulce et Decorum est Summary and Study Guide

    The poem's Latin title is taken from a famous line from the Roman poet Horace: "Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori" (Lines 27-28), which translates to "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country." This quote was widely used to support war efforts and as a general military philosophy in England at the time.

  12. Wilfred Owen

    Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen Track 12 on Poems by Wilfred Owen Produced by Wilfred Owen One of the most famous war poems written by Wilfred Owen, who died in the British Army's...

  13. Dulce et Decorum Est Analysis

    Technical analysis of Dulce et Decorum Est literary devices and the technique of Wilfred Owen. More on Dulce et Decorum Est Intro See All; The Poem See All; Summary ... Owen's trying to make us feel like we're actually with him on the battlefield as the gas shells are dropping. There's a bit of confusion in all the smoke and haze and chaos and ...

  14. The War Inside: An Analysis of Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est

    Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" vividly portrays the horrors of war, specifically focusing on the physical and emotional toll it takes on soldiers. The poem exposes the false perception of war glorification and challenges the notion of dying nobly for one's country.

  15. Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    Back to Previous Dulce et Decorum Est By Wilfred Owen Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

  16. Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    One of the most admired poets of World War I, Wilfred Edward Salter Owen is best known for his poems "Anthem for Doomed Youth" and "Dulce et Decorum Est." He was killed in France on November 4, 1918. He was killed in France on November 4, 1918.

  17. Summary and Analysis of Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    Wilfred Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est is a compelling poem trying to depict the helplessness of soldiers caught in a Gas Chamber. The poet describes the general condition of the men involved in the war, their condition after a shock of a gas attack and then describing the effect of it on someone who lives through it. Stanza- Wise Summary

  18. Dulce et Decorum est

    " Dulce et Decorum est " is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I, and published posthumously in 1920. Its Latin title is from a verse written by the Roman poet Horace: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. [3]

  19. Summary and Analysis of Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

    Summary of Dulce Et Decorum Est : Though the poem is not directly divided into so many stanzas we can discern three basic movements and a climax. We can divide the poem into three stanzas. The first stanza or movement might comprise of the first eight lines. Here Owen is describing the soldiers as unwilling to fight and marching in their sleep.

  20. Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et decorum est': Summary & Analysis

    The poem 'Dulce et decorum est' by Wilfred Owen deals with both loss and deep sadness. Immediately in the poem there are very strong images being used throughout the poem and this shows the sadness from the very start. Figures of speech are used to bring out these images and make them stronger. The meaning of 'Dulce et decorum est' is ...

  21. Dulce et Decorum Est Introduction

    Owen spent years on the battlefields. By most standards, he has earned the right to call it like he sees it. Reading "Dulce et Decorum Est" may not be a walk in the park. But Owen's struggling with a difficult issue: he's trying to get a country to pay attention to the fact that people are dying.

  22. Wilfred Owen's Dulce et Decorum est: Summary & Analysis

    War is usually a bloody series of battles between 2 or more factions. Usually, it is between different tribes or countries. In Dulce et Decorum, Wilfred Owen describes war as being deadly, very bloody, and disgusting where soldiers are innocently killed, ripped apart, and treated like beggars without hope or worth. However, during wars, countries.

  23. 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilford Owen

    SUMMARY. Wilfred Owen, the poet, tells of his first-hand experience in war. He tells the tale of tired and wounded soldiers walking through dirt and sludge. Suddenly, there is a warning about gas, which the soldiers hurriedly and awkwardly heed by donning their helmets. ... 10.'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. ...