Write an account of this poem in continuous prose, showing how the techniques used create the effects that led to your interpretation of the meaning of the poem.
This essay will discuss how in Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Dulce et decorum Est’,
the techniques of ‘end rhyme, alteration, meter and graphic
imagery’ were used to create the effects of ‘unease, distortion and horror’ lead to the resentment
of ‘the old lie’ and Owen’s anti-War sentiment.
One of the technique’s used in Owen’s poem was ‘end rhyme’ as shown by the examples
‘blood/cud’ and ‘lungs/tongues this is featured throughout the entire
Poem. This served two purposes. As firstly the poem is easily identifiable as a poem, meaning that
the familiar ‘rhyming scheme’ is recognizable to most who read it, thus making it more assessable.
Another way Owen’s does this is through the use of Latin in the title and last lines of the poem,
which shows the ...view middle of the document...
Also the contrasting
soft sounding W of ‘And watched the white eyes writhing in his face’ Owen’s distorts
reality further by using soft sounds to contrast with image of the dead soldiers face which evokes
unease and horror in the reader.
Another way in which Owen’s use the guise of structure is in the
‘metre’, Or lack of ‘metre’, as this essay will go on to
discuss. As explained previously the poem appears conventional, looks to be written in ‘iambic
pentameter’. However, the poem has no rhythm, to
further the sense of distortion Owen breaks up the ‘iambic pentameter’ with his use of
punctuation ‘But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;’ which causes the poem to
feel conversational giving it a hard hitting, dramatic quality, which makes it impossible to ignore its
Finally Owen’s use of ‘imagery’, in the first stanza he uses a metaphor to aid his
description of the soldiers, not as war hero’s, but as demoralised and exhausted men “old beggars
under sacks”. Owen’s resentment at the transformation of the young men is obvious as he
goes on to describe them, as not men ‘coughing like hags’ , which evokes sadness in the
reader. He also uses similes to graphically describe the soldier’s death which goes on to haunt his
dreams. ‘And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…’ This evokes disgust and horror in the
reader as the image of a soldier, flapping around like a dying fish is a far cry from the glorious death
promised. His work is a powerful, graphic picture of the horrors of war and the ultimate irony that
it is not sweet to die for one’s country.
In conclusion, this essay has discussed how Owen’s use of ‘End rhyme, Alliteration, Meter and
imagery’ contributes to the effects of unease, horror and distortion which leads to the
interpretation of Owens resentment for the ‘Old Lie’ and his powerful anti-war sentiment.
The Open University (2013) ‘Unit 2: Making sense of poetry’, Y031 Block 1 Finding your voice, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
The Open University (2015) Assessment Guide, February (B) 2015 presentation, Milton Keynes,