Wilfred Owen War Poem

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Wilfred Owen, born 1893 in the UK, was a poet of World War 1. Owen hated the existence of war, but enlisted in 1915, leading him to write in great detail about the reality of the battlefield. After writing many poems, Owen died in 1918, two weeks before the end of World War 1. One of those poems was Dulce et Decorum Est, describing in great detail the sickening effects of a gas attack on soldiers. The title is taken from a quote from Horace Odes ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’, meaning ‘it is sweet and honourable to die for one’s country’. The gas poem illustrates that war isn’t as heroic and glorious as it seems to be, because the soldiers were told how manly and heroic it would be to fight in the war, although the truth was far from…show more content…
The first line of the first stanza, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks” uses a simile to compare the state of the soldiers to beggars; unkempt and dirty. Disgust and repulsiveness is instantly evoked, along with an image of old men with hunched backs and ragged dirty clothes, although they were supposed to be young and dashing. A similar effect can be seen on the seventh line of the fourth stanza, “Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud”. This quote contains two similes, both comparing the scene of the soldier dying to the horrifying and repulsive aspect of cancer and cud. By comparing the situation to cancer, Owen is comparing it to a loathsome disease that brings suffering, and by comparing the situation to cud; half chewed food, Owen is expressing his disgust towards the way the soldier is dying. The use of similes throughout the poem illustrates how war isn’t honourable and glorious, but instead repulsive and…show more content…
One example using diction is the second line of the third stanza; “He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.” Owen describes in three ways how his comrade plunges at him; guttering, choking, and drowning, all which relate to suffering. From this line, Owen communicates how war leads to suffering and creates a strong image of how the soldier is choking and drowning on his own blood. Another line which depicts the same image is the third line of the fourth paragraph; “And watch the white eyes writhing in his face”. Owen uses ‘white’ and ‘writhing’ to describe the loss of control and the amount of torment the soldier is going through, because ‘white’ represents the soldier’s eyes rolled into the back of his heads, and ‘writhing’ represents agony. The diction of the poem illustrated the theme “war isn’t as heroic and glorious as it appears to be” by using descriptive words that elicited strong
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