Dulce Et Decorum Est Analysis

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Wilfred Owen
Dulce Et Decorum Est
How does Wilfred Owen covey his ideas about war within the poem?

Wilfred Owen was a lieutenant in the British army during the First World War and his poem Dulce Et Decorum Est is a captivating recount of the horror and terror the soldiers experienced during war and a gas attack. The Latin title is translated to ‘it is sweet and proper’. Owen starts of the poem with an ironic title. We know this because how can it ‘sweet and proper’ for soldiers to be ‘Drunk with fatigue’ or for men’s body’s to become disfigured to the extent that they no longer resemble men at all?

Owen is an anti war poet who stands in blatant contrast to both the public perception of war and to the patriotic poem written by Jessie Pope “Who’s for the game?”. Owen’s passionate defiant war beliefs are stressed in the last line of his poem; “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.” The start of the quote states ‘The old lie:’ Owen uses the term ‘old’, which shows that the lie has been inflicted on individuals in all ages.

The choice of language also highlights the fact that the lie is timeworn, since Latin is an ancient and dead language. Therefore, the use of it allows the reader to make an inference that as it is a dead language it should be a dead lie. As well as this, the word lie means to intentionally release a false statement. This could possibly imply that Owen is trying to hold the government or politicians responsible for the deaths of countless
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