The Testament Of War Analysis

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The Testament of War Modern warfare is commonly regarded by today’s society as the catalyst that changes boys into men and transforms soldiers into heroes when they return home. In Wilfred Owen’s wartime portrayal “Dulce et Decorum est” Owen describes graphic scenes of what occurs in the middle of a gas attack. During the poem, the narrator is returning from a battle with his squadron when they are ambushed. As they struggle to put their gas masks on, a member of his squadron is unfortunately unable to put his mask on. Owen paints the episode of agony as the narrator watches his fellow soldier. At the end of the poem the narrator reflects on the meaning and importance of dying in combat. He comes to the realization that war is not heroic,…show more content…
Owen was a soldier in World War I, and upon writing the poem, he was recovering from shell shock in a hospital bed (Trueman). Owen experienced the horrors and dangers of trench warfare first-hand during World War I. The author expresses these thoughts through the eyes of the narrator in the poem. Owen draws from his own personal experiences to recount what happens in battle, and the lack of humanity contained in war. Therefore, the narrator ends at the conclusion that no war is worth dying for, and society needs to stop glorifying slaughtering of others. This is expressed when the narrator…show more content…
As his battalion member is succumbing to the poison gas, the narrator portrays the scene as,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of file incurable sores on innocent tongues,— (21-24)
The narrator describes how blood is coming out of the victim’s mouth. This demonstrates how this is not a heroic death. Rather than dying in a glorious manner, the soldier chokes on his own blood. The narrator describes the seen as cancer and vomit. Again, this is far removed from a hero’s death. The addition of the gruesome images Owen includes in the poem provide information that soldiers who die in combat don’t leave as heroes. Alternatively, the poison gas they succumb to causes them to die powerless and weak.
In addition to imagery, Owen uses metaphors to critique the ideal of modern warfare heroism. As the narrator’s squadron is returning from battle the narrator illustrates his squadron as,
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knocked-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
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