Explication Essay

661 words - 3 pages

Jeff Liao

English 1 H
2 September 2011
Dulce et Decorum Est
The poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” let readers visualize the scenes of war, it shows how painful and frighten is to die for your own country. Owen used lots of strong and ugly word like “yelling, stumbling, choking, drowning…etc.” to let the reader illustrate how vile and inhumane it actually is. Owen use “Dulce et Decorum Est” as a title, it is a Latin phrase which means “it is sweet and honorable to die for your country”. It give readers a false sense of the poem, it makes them think that this poem is definitely about a heroic guy did something great in the war, like sacrifice himself for the country. At the end, Owen continues his poem by ending that the title is a lie.
In this poem, the speaker describe the scenes in the battlefield, he want the readers to image it. The poem start off with a ...view middle of the document...

On the way back, men walk like dead zombie, some lost their boot, and some come back with bloods, all of them look pale, and blind. They are all so tired and exhausted that they can’t even hear the hoots. And suddenly a gas bomb drops behind them without their notice. In this part Owen tries to get the readers to feel how interminable the soldiers are in the battlefield.
In stanza 2 and 3, the speaker describes the situation in the gas bomb. The soldiers yell “GAS, GAS”, in a panic and chaos, fumbling soldiers tries to put on the clumsy helmet. But in the gas bomb the ecstasy makes their skin feels like fire burning on it and acid going through the skin. At this moment, soldiers seeking for help, looking through the misty green light, but all they can see are their fellow drowning, choking, and guttering in the gas. After all of this the only thing the speaker can think is about gas attack, and in there he can’t do anything, except reply to the horrible scene and feeling the helpless. At stanza 4, the speaker wish that we can all feel the same pain as him, he wish we can go into the gas and feel the choking.

In stanza 4 and 5, the soldiers can’t take the gas anymore. In this stanza the speaker describes their painful experience. Everyone in the gas looks like devil, their face turn pale and it becomes so quiet, that the speaker can hear the sound of every jolt and blood struggling in his body. Within a minute they feel ill, disgusting, and they feel sore all over their body. At line 26, the speaker tells us that no one can find peace or glory in the battlefield. At the end of the poem, the speaker wrote “The old lie: dulce et decorum est”. He wanted us to know that it is nothing good to die for the country.
It would not be a good idea to decide what the poem is about after reading the title. In this poem the title is very ironic. Its title is completely different than the contain, but at the end Owen explains the title by saying that it is an old lie.

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