Essay about Dulce et Decorum est

Submitted By deanna66
Words: 717
Pages: 3

Wilfred Owen's poetry is a passionate expression of outrage at the horrors and suffering at war. His portrayal of war is memorable and creates an in depth understanding of the suffering endured by the young soldiers, such as the physical horrors in "Dulce et Decorum Est" or the unseen mental torment that plague the soldiers after they were home in "Mental Cases". His diverse use of imagery and technique is what makes him the most memorable of the war poets. These poems evoke more from us than simple disgust and sympathy but also deepen our apprehension of suffering that was undergone during the war. Owen conveys the destitute conditions of the war experience and suffering of the soldiers in "Dulce et Decorum Est". In order to engage his audience he adapts a conventional sonnet and through the use of grotesque imagery, he depicts the forfeiture of lives of young soldiers on the battlefield. The opening stanza is highly visual and uses similes to help envisage the once young and strong men which are compared to “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks”. This reflects their physical and mental exhaustion that reveals their misery. The image of the men ‘doubled’ creates the possibility that the soldiers really have become two people, the men they were before the war and the creatures they are now, which manipulate the reader emotionally and allows them to achieve a greater understanding of the suffering that was faced during the war.

Owens graphic descriptions of the suffering and anguish of the soldiers also provokes an emotional response from the reader. For instance in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, the soldier’s suffering as they suffocate from the gas which is shown in the personal pronoun; ‘I saw him drowning’ shattering any illusion that war is glorious and allows the audience to understand the agony that was endured from the gas. This is reinforced by the evocative imagery in the simile, ‘as under a green sea’. The comparison of the gas bomb and the green sea intensifies the image of the horrors of war and the torment that was afflicted. Owen emphasis the consuming and destructive qualities of the gas through the use of the simile ‘like a man in fire or lime’. Owen enables the reader to experience the actions and sounds of the war first-hand which further helps to deepen our grasp of suffering by using these techniques.

However in Owen’s poem ‘Mental Cases’ he explores the aftermath and trauma experienced by soldiers and the psychological scarring to help the reader gain a greater insight into the suffering undergone after the war. He portrays the dehumanised state of the soldiers through religious diction, ‘Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows’ to create a visual of soldiers rocking back and forth, trying to shake off their mental torment which is indicative of their suffering. This image is