Dulce et Decorum Est - Wilfred Owen

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  • Dulce et Decorum Est
    • Pain and Suffering
      • "guttering, choking, drowning"
        • shows the extreme extent of the pain felt by the dying soldier
        • triple, list of verbs
      • "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks"
        • the soldiers were physically exhausted and hunched over whilst walking, but made to continue despite their terrible physical conditions
      • "like a man in fire or lime"
        • depicts an image of a man being burn and destroyed, graphic imagery depicting the pain caused by war
      • "incurabe sores on innocent tongues"
        • the soldiers, many of which were only young, had been permanently corrupted and traumatised by what they had seen
    • War
      • "we cursed through the sludge"
        • the soldiers had been beaten and overworked to a point where they are angry and voice this anger as they walk, speaking angrily and with malicious intent
      • "white eyes writhing in his face"
        • the soldiers watched the dying soldier's empty eyes helplessly writhe in his face and could do nothing about it
      • "An ecstasy of fumbling"
        • the men were overtaken with fear and the need to save themselves, although their attempts to do so were clumsy and all over the place
      • "as under a green sea"
        • the gas surrounding the soldiers was so thick and heavy, it was like water, must have increased the soldiers already very prominent fear
    • Negative Emotions
      • "Men marched asleep."
        • the soldiers were so exhausted and sleep deprived that they were zombie-like and seemed to be asleep as the walked
      • "In all my dreams"
        • The events he witnessed during war haunt his dreams and are replayed every time he sleeps
      • "helpless sight"
        • the speaker feels useless and unable to help his fellow soldier, who is dying right in front of him
      • "you would not tell with such high zest"
        • angry at the poets before him who described war to be a wonderful and highly enjoyable experience, when they had yet to experience it
    • Death and Loss
      • "I saw him drowning"
        • the speaker watched another soldier die directly in front of him and was unable to save, help or even comfort him
        • "him" - unnamed soldier, shows that they may not know each other, or it may have happened many times
      • "guttering, choking, drowning"
        • the soldiers death was painful, long and similar to drowning, and all closely witnessed by the speaker, who is unable to forget the pain he saw
      • "towards our distant rest"
        • the soldiers are expecting to die and feel that, the closer they get to the place of battle, they closer they get to dying
      • "the wagon we flung him in"
        • the body of the now dead soldier is not respected and taken care of, but instead disposed of quickly and without care, showing how common the events described may have been
    • Context
      • written during WW1, in which Owen fought,  at the age of only 18
      • he was killed in 1918, during WW1, just a week before peace was declared
      • he had to return home once during the war to be treated for PTSD (then called shell shock) and returned to war later on
      • owen was only 25 when he died
      • he detested poems which glorified war and lied to him about what he would experience


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