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“Owen uses imagery to create a sense of being physically crippled when he says …” alliteration, onomatopoeia; e.g.
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. 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.
Critical Essay: “Dulce et Decorum Est” – How to Structure your Essay!
The Question: Write about a poem that deals with the theme of war and shows the poet’s attitude.The line derives from the Roman poet Horace's .The phrase was commonly used during the WWI era, and thus would have resonated with Owen's readers.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.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.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.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. They have lost the semblance of humanity and are reduced to ciphers.