Snaith//Dulce et Decorum Est


Stanza 4

In his dream, he sees again the wagon that the man’s body was thrown into. He sees his face, and his eyes rolled back in his head. I think that the way Owen has written this shows that death was common enough to be almost excepted. Here is what the poem has been building toward:

"My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum Est Pro patria mori"

Speaking directly to the reader and making the point of the poem, Wilfred Owen suggests that if the people could see these horrors of the war they might not speak to their children with such enthusiasm. This is evident in the line "the old lie" Owen’s clear abhorrence for the war and the horrors that the soldiers experienced becomes evident throughout his poetry. It is obviously a propaganda piece against the lies told to the men's families and the young boys aspiring to be a part of the war.

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Stanza 3

Owens tells us that this is a flashback to a time during the war. He shows this scene through his dreams or nightmares. He feels unable to help the dying man even when he "plunges "towards them. The size of this stanza is clearly shorter than the others. This could represent the speed of the mans death or the abruptness of the nightmares.

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Stanza 2

Wilfred is also a part of this experience as he too was a soldier during World War .The gas is detected. Someone tells them to get their masks on…the soldier fumbles around fitting the mask on just before the gas gets to him. Unfortunately, someone does not get his face covered inhales the gas. His body is immediately is damaged by the gas. He begins to yell, stumble, struggle as if he is drowning. Owen can see the man through the fog and thick green light. The extended metaphor of the drowning through green water is used throughout the following stanza as this was the actual effect the mustard gas had on the men.

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Stanza 1

The soldiers are physically and mentally exhausted. Through similes the soldiers are compared to beggars carrying their bags. Cursing their environment, the soldiers are sick and injured. The men are retiring to the trenches through the thick mud and dirt covering the ground. Many of the men walked sleeping. This could show their physical and mental fatigue or represent the repetition of the marches therefore showing then as a sleep like trances. Some of the soldiers had lost their boots; however, they hobbled on with bloody feet. The men are described as blind through the sleeping and are described as deaf from the bombs dropped behind them.

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