Analysis of Dulce Decorum Est

Essay by ju_f2fCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2004

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Nightmare under a Green Sea

In 1914 a war which has since been called the "Great" War caused more than 9.5 million victims over a 52 month period. This is approximatively 5,600 men a day. While the persons who were not part of the action could say that the soldiers were acting patriotically, the soldiers were living a true horror. Wilfred Owen, who was an officer in the British Army during the World War I, offers a real testimony of what the war could look like in his poem "Dulce et Decorum Est". Let's see what someone who lived the nightmares of the war has to express about his experience.

"Dulce et Decorum Est"(Owen 277) is a Latin sentence that means : "Sweet and Fitting it is". It is the first line of an ode written by the Roman poet Horace. In the first stanza Owen says that the soldiers were "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks" (Owen 277).

This first sentence is a simile that the author uses to tell the reader how exhausted and hopeless the soldiers were.

Their legs were curved inward at the knees by the fatigue. The soldiers were coughing like evil looking old women or "hags"(Owen 277). The poet says that they turned back while they were still under the fire of "haunting flares"(Owen 277). Flares were used in World War 1 to light up certain regions where there could be targets or men. The line " And towards our distant rest began to trudge"(Owen 277) expresses how painful it was for them to walk to their camp. The use of the word "trudge" instead of "walk" emphasizes how difficult it was for them to move. The sentence also places the speaker of the poem inside this group...