Friday, June 7, 2019
The horror of war in Dulce et Decorum est Essay Example for Free
The horror of contendfare in Dulce et Decorum est EssayHow does Wilfred Owen portray the horror of warfare in Dulce et Decorem est?Owens Dulce et Decorem est is a painful, poignant and blunt depiction of the seedy conditions and distressing experiences which had a permanent incumbrance on the soldiers of the 1st world war. He addresses the subject with absolute honesty and frankness as a soldier himself, which brings out the stark contrast of the reality of war to the propaganda which enticed young soldiers to fight to begin with Owens use of language here shows his deep loathing towards war and guide propaganda. Firstly I will address the idea in the poem that war is irreconcilable and contradictory to the notions displayed by propaganda posters of courage, bravery, honour, glory and patriotism. The first stanza of the poem is laborious with negative connotations- the men are beggars, weak, destitute and dejected, lacking in hope they are coughing like hags due to living in the trenches- rife with illness, disease, ball up attacks and dead bodies.The use of words like haunting, distant, asleep, lame and drunk create a feeling of inevitable doom knock-kneed, coughing, limped, blood-shod and dropped indicate ill health and disease. The infrastructure of loss is also significant here many had lost their boots, all blind, deaf even, connoting the loss of sense organs as well as property, the flyspeck comfort of simply having boots. Through the sludge the men curse those who were the cause of their suffering, the Germans, war, propaganda.Nevertheless there is still the theme of duty, and/or a small diminish of hope amongst the disheartened men- Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots// But limped on, blood-shod. Even in shoes full of blood, the men march on, partly because they hold to and they have been ordered to, partly because they have to protect themselves, but mainly towards that distant rest. This portrayal of dedication (to family, caus e, life) is in contrast to the positive connotations of bravery or glory. on that point is nothing positive about the mens desire to push on, only desperation. This is heightened by the fact that this poem was written in 1917, 3 years after they were promised the war would end by Christmas 1914.The second stanza could be likened to wakening from a dream- the men are drunk with fatigue when a small but urgent verbalise calls Gas then more urgently, as the danger is fully understood- GAS following on from this is an avalanche of awkward words like fumbling, clumsy and stumbling which adds to the urgent, disordered feeling of the stanza structure. This feeling of awkwardness augments itself, then becomes relief (just in time) then turns into pity and excruciating empathy for the someone who is drowning under a green sea, as he is yelling out and floundring like a fish, wrenching at the emotions of the reader and, it seems, of Owen himself.In the 3rd and shortest stanza, Owen seems t o be saying to the reader that the things he had seen were so dreaded that he wished he were blind himself. He does this by saying that his sight is helpless, that in his dreams, (one would imagine a sanctuary) even in his dreams he is haunted by the man he saw die as he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. The end of this stanza is so abrupt as to have a painful effect on the reader, as if this description is a flashback of Owens that he cannot stop his helpless subconscious mind from re-enacting in his dreams.The last stanza is really Owen addressing the reader directly, having described to them the brilliant things he had encountered. How there were so many dead that they flung them in the wagon, how his dreams were so terrifying that they smothered him and how horribly he had to watch his friends die, gargling blood.He informs the reader that if they had seen what he had seen, they would not tell with such high zest// To children ardent for some desperate glory,// The old Lie Dulce et Decorem est//Pro patria mori. That you, My friend, the reader, would not dream of speaking of the war with ardour, if to create a utopian fantasy for ones children if at all.The fact that Owen capitalises the L in Lie along with the ending of the poem with the religiously indicative Latin phrase shows his sarcastic bitterness clearly- he wants the reader to empathise and feel as he feels when he thinks of how he was lied to about a target worse than hell, and even worse, how it was glorified.In conclusion, Owen portrays the horror of war, with an incredibly graphic nature, as at complete odds with popular considerations. He fills the poem with themes of loss, blindness, illness, fatigue, death, blood, uncleanliness and deafness and likens war to a place worse than hell, worse than the reader could even imagine. He displays war as rife with sickening and squalid substance, and the effects it has on the soldiers who stick out as incurable, corrupted, horrific, destr uctive and vile.