Dulce et decorum est (quotes)

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  • Quotes
    • "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks"
      • simile highlights, physical deterioation
      • physically played them down before they got to war.
      • compares the men to marching like beggars
      • Starting the poem off an image of men "doubles" creates the possibility that the soldiers really have become two people: the men they were before war and the creatures that they are now.
    • "Men marched asleep"
      • the repeated "m" sound reflects the slumbering exhaustion of the men.
      • The metaphor emphasises the extreme tiredness of the soldiers
        • They were barely even awake or aware of what they were doing
    • "Under a green sea"
      • The metaphor describes the way the gas smothers the field and the men in it.
      • the assonance in 'green' and 'sea' elongates the vowel sound
        • this mimics the action of the men suffocation from the gas.
      • As they slowly collapse on the ground and die
    • "he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning"
      • the most disturbing image of the poem
      • as a dying soldier reaches out and falls
      • his lungs filling with his own blood after ingesting the gas
      • the asyndetic list that describes how the soldier is dying
        • becomes  more powerful and more horrific through the use of onomatopoeic words like 'guttering'
    • "froth-corrupted lungs"
      • the violent image of death describes a soldier drowning in his own blood after breathing in the gas
      • the death is brutal and painful
      • the verb 'corruted' shows how excruciating it is to die of gas poisoning
        • further emphasized  by the fact that the poet is watching his comrades choke on their own blood
      • how the soldiers were fed the lie of heroism and glory if they signed up to fighting the war
    • "obscene as cancer"
      • in this simile, Owen presents us with a short brutal comparison.
      • like cancer is a killer, so is was
      • the sight of the mans 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.
    • "Gas! Gas! Quick boys!"
      • Rapid increase in pace
      • shows the panic and emergancy of war
      • fumbling for gas masks and helmets
      • 'GAS' is in capitals to show the yell of waning and panic
      • it is repeated in exclamation mark to convey how much time it took them to realize
    • "smothering dreams"
      • 'dreams' meant to be good.It is a nightmare
      • he is haunted in his dreams
      • the verb 'smother' suggests that the poets dreams and memories are slowly killing him.

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