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Dulce Et Decorum Est An Emotional Appeal

771 words - 4 pages

Dulce et Decorum Est An Emotional Appeal

War brings with it countless tragedies. Many of these tragedies only a veteran could fully understand. All too often the ugliness of war is glorified, and even worse, glamorized. In the poem Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen, the glorification of war is sarcastically refuted. Owen’s anger is eminent, as he graphically describes war in terms only a veteran or embattled soldier could comprehend.

Dulce et Decorum Est, means “It is sweet and becoming to die for one’s country”(Arp 566). The title is used satirically, which the speaker defines within the very first phrase in the poem: “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks”(565). The ...view middle of the document...

The intensity grows as the length of the poem grows. First, the speaker told of the men, and how they trudged towards distant rest (566). Now, further in the poem he singles out a single man. He also mentions himself as he explains “I saw him drowning”. He is referring to the one man who could not get his gas mask on in time to prevent death. During this passage, I could not help but to visualize the one young man who was left “flound’ring”, and maintaining dry eyes became near impossible. Again, I am reminded of the powerful sarcasm introduced with the first line of the poem. How could anyone glorify the agony of watching a young boy scraping at the eyes of death?

The speaker describes the journey home, and suggests, “If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace / Behind the wagon that we flung him in”(566), which delivers a powerful blow. The use of the word “flung” in the above passage seems to have double meaning. It depicts the chilling reality that human life is disposable when it comes to war. It also implies that we have not seen this young mans face, and we did not watch him die—to the non-veteran, he is merely a statistic. The speaker will never...

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