Dulce et Decorum Est is a depiction of an event in a day in the life of a solider, presenting the harsh reality of war. The poet, Wilfred Owen, is dismissing "the old Lie", war propaganda, that it is sweet and noble to die for your country by showing the cruel actuality of life in the trenches, with the aim to change the way society thinks about conflict.
In the first verse, Wilfred Owen uses punctuation to slow down the pace of the poem, imitating the speed at which the soldiers are marching. He places a comma at the end of each phrase to force the poem to be read as if weary, and as the poem is written in the first person, the reader of the poem becomes that disheartened person. This helps the reader to understand the extreme exhaustion the poet is feeling, and draws them into the situation, in preparation for events to come.
Wilfred Owen produces an eerie atmosphere by using phrases such as "marched asleep". "drunk with fatigue" and "deaf even to the hoots of gas-shells dropping softly behind". This provokes the idea that the soldiers are fully contained within their own minds, not responding to outside events, just marching on as they have become accustomed to, without thinking about it.
Owen shows his own resentment of the time by using negative, downbeat verbs and nouns such as "coughing", "cursed", "trudge" and "sludge". He describes how many of the soldiers lacked footwear, after being on their feet for many days, and were forced to march with blood on their feet taking the place of foot protection: "Many had lost their boots, but limped on, blood shod". This helps to describe the awful conditions he and his fellow soldiers were forced to live in, and...