Dulce et Decorum Est - Quotes, Context and Structure & Form

  • Created by: Noah_S
  • Created on: 23-03-19 18:01
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  • Dulce et Decorum Est
    • Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918)
      • Written in 1918
    • Middle
      • "under a green sea"
        • The assonance in "green" and "sea" elongates the vowel sound, which mimics the action of the men suffocating from the gas
      • "He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning"
        • The asyndetic list that describes how the soldier is dying becomes more powerful and more horrific through the use of onomatopoeic words like ‘guttering’.
    • Context
      • World War One
        • Owen fought in WW1
        • Shows the dispaires the soldiers faced during the war.
        • Lasted between 1914 and 1918.
        • Referred as the first modern war.
        • Owen's poetry is characterised by powerful descriptions of the conditions faced by soldiers in the trenches.
    • Beginning
      • "haunting flares"
        • The adjective ‘haunting’ emphasises the nightmares of war the men would experience afterwards the encounter.
        • In this instance, the flares are the fires and blasts created by bombs, which contrasts  with the use of an SOS flare that is normally thought. Ironically, they are in trouble, but no help will come.
      • "Men marched asleep"
        • Alliteration of the ‘m’ sound is used to produce the sound of a tired, trudging walk on the muddy ground
        • This metaphor emphasises the extreme tiredness of the soldiers –they were walking and were so tired, they were barely even awake or aware of what they were doing
    • Structure and Form
      • Four unequal stanzas.
        • Represents the unpredictability of the war.
        • First two stanzas are in sonnet form.
        • Final two are much looser in structure.
      • First stanza shows sets up a gruesome snapshot of war.
      • Second and third stanzas focuses on a dying soldier.
      • Forth stanza shows how the speaker is effected by this.
    • End
      • "To children ardent for some desperate glory"
        • The poet speaks directly to his target audience when he says ‘To children’ – he wants to get his message across that there is no ‘glory’ in war.
        • The adjective ‘desperate’ reflects the huge desire these boys had for going to war and returning heroes. However, comparing against the first line shows a clear contrast with  the reality of war.
      • "Obscene as cancer"
        • In this simile, Owen presents us with a short brutal comparison. Like cancer is a killer, so is war. The sight of the man’s blood is an obscenity; something which should not to be seen.
        • The adjective ‘obscene’ emphasises that blood is as offensive to sight as is death, by drowning in poison gas.


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