Dulce et Decorum est

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Dulceet Decorum est

Dulceet Decorum est

Dulceet decorum est is presented in a way to portray the irony in thethoughts and imaginations of people. In many cases, people tend tothink that going to war is glorious and fun and according to thepoet, it is not. Wilfred Owen was born in Oswestry in England. Hislife as a soldier was hard and not as interesting as he thought. Inthis poem, he addresses the irony in the poem of what people perceiveto be true of the state of war. The poem is meant to educate peoplewho have thought that war is glorious without giving much attentionto what the soldiers go through. In the poem, Owen gives a clearexplanation of what the soldiers go through in their daily endeavors.In this poem, the young England soldier explains the normal routinein a skillful manner employing the styles of poetry and clearunderstanding. This essay analyses the poem in details. The writerbrings vividly the horror and the war during the period that thereader understands.

Fromthe overview of the poem, Own had a mission of bringing into picturethe real situations that the soldiers go through. For a long time,the soldiers have been taken to be enjoying life without manyproblems. The First World War was the very first of its kind and theperception was not comparable to any other since it had never existedbefore. In this situation, the writer brings the real life of thesoldiers.

Manytimes, there has always been a notion of the pleasures that thesoldiers have when they go for different missions. This idea hasalways been misinterpreted by the civilians since they are ignorantof the real situations that these people go through. In his poem,Owen tries to address this idea in explaining the real situationsthat they go through. He brings a clear picture of the real conditionas it happens. In this excerpt, “like old beggars,” he tries toexplain the condition of their state. The soldiers look like oldbeggars. The condition is pathetic. The life that the civiliansthought about the soldiers is not the same as the real life they live(Butts, 2012).

Inhis statement “coughing like hags,” the writer brings the idea ofthe state of the soldiers. In its literal meaning, hags are used tomean old women who are ugly and this brings the picture of thesoldiers. Again, the same agony is expressed in the line where Owenssays that “like a man in fire or lime.” The agony that thesoldiers go through during the fights is comparable to the fire thatburns the skin. The pain that they encounter is so much unlike whatthe civilians think of them. In this situation, the soldiersencounter a lot of things that are not imagined by the civilians. Theexpression in his statement disapproves the thought of the civiliansabout having a happy life in their lines of duty (Omidi, 2015).

Inline 14 of chapter one, Owen talks of being under a green gas. Inthis expression, he speaks of the reality of drowning. The gas isthick and in this condition, he talks of his environment. Theconditions of the soldiers are in such a way that there are so muchstrife, teargas and pain. Owen sees a man through the eye-piece of agas mask. This shows the protection that the soldiers had to take andthis was to take control of their environment. The fumes and thegases that could affect them during the world war were covered butthe effects could still be seen. In the same scene, he compares thecondition “like a devil’s sick of sin” to what they go through.The man’s face in the poem is compared to that of the devil who iseven tired of committing sin. The conditions of the soldiers arepathetic. They can hardly enjoy the natural life and this makes theirlives harder. The sufferings they encounter are not quite normal andto the civilians, the war that they take to be awesome is not nicefor the soldiers. In his statement “obscene as cancer” Owenbrings in an analogy of a serious condition that all the civiliansare familiar with. The dangers that they undergo during theirservices are as bad as the effects of cancer. The pain that cancercomes with is comparable with that of the soldiers during the FirstWorld War (Ben-Ezra, 2011)

Inconclusion, the real condition of the soldiers is explained and aclear picture drawn. Socially, the society had a differentperspective of the soldiers. It has been taken normally by thesecivilians without being keen on the real condition. In this poem,Owen brings into focus the real lives of the soldiers and this isquite the opposite of the expectation of the civilians. The dangersthat the soldiers go through, the pain and suffering are brought outin the poem.


Ben-Ezra,M. (2011). Extra: Exposure to chemical warfare during the First WorldWar: Shell shock poetry of Wilfred Owen. TheBritish Journal of Psychiatry,199,125.

Butts,D. (2012). Anthems for (Un)doomed Youth?: The Fairy Tales of WilfredOwen. Children’sLiterature,40,218–230.