DULCE ET DECORUM EST DI WILFRED OWEN: ANALYSIS LINE BY LINE
Dulce et decorum est di Wilfred Owen.“Dulce et Decorum est” is a war poem written by Wilfred Owen, one of the most significant war poets, during World War I.
He was born in 1893 in Shropshire and he was educated in Liverpool. He tought English in Bordeaux in 1913 and he retourned to England in 1915 to enlist in the army. He caught trench-fever on the Somme and was hospitalised in Edinburgh. He went back to fight in France and in 1918, was decorated for bravery and was then killed on the Sombre Canal one week before the Armistice was signed.
His experiences of the war led him to represent the war through crude and realistic details, but also with pity and human sympathy.
Now considered the most important ot the “war poets”, Owen wrote poems particularly relevant as experiments in poetic technique.
The “war poets” were the first who denounced trench life or death by gas, but also who revealed the sense of exaltation and the spirit of adventure that marked the first years of the war.
WILFRED OWEN DULCE ET DECORUM EST ANALISI
Dulce et Decorum est is an example of Owen’s statement of the horor of war and the hypocrisy and ignorance of patriotism. The poem focuses on the terrible new chemical weapon of World War I: Gas.
“Dulce et decorum est” is divided in four irregular stanzas. Each stanza deals with a precise point, in fact we can notice that in the first the poet introduces the situation, in the second he describes the gas attack, then in the third we can find the description of poet’s dream-nightmare and at the end he describes the soldier’s death and produces the poem’s message.
The narrator is the poet himself as we can infer by reading line 14:”…I saw him…” and “…in all my dreams…”(15), “he pluges at me…”(16), “my friend…”(25). In fact we can see that Owen doesn’t write from “without” but from “within” the war, he is inspired by his own experiences and by the small and great tragedies of thousand of unknow people involved in a nightmarish, hallucinating reality.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST THEME AND MESSAGE
The first stanza is made up of 8 lines and describes some men who are marching away from the front, as we can understand by reading in line 4: ”towards our distant rest”, and in line 8: ”that dropped behind” which are jambic verses conveying tiredness.
There is also represented a frontal attack on the enemy’s tranches. We can say that it isn’t an heroic scene because the soldiers are given grothesque traits such as: ”like old beggars”(1) and “coughing like haugs”(2).
Moreover by reading line 3 ”we turned our backs”, we can notice that they are withdraw before meeting the enemy.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST ANALYSIS LINE BY LINE
The scene is described from the point of view of a soldier who is the poet himself, in fact he says: “we”, “our”, and he gives us a description of the exhausted soldiers. He uses a lot of adjectives suggestive of weakiness and exhaustion as we can infer by reading: “asleep”, “lame”, “blind”, “drunk”, “deaf”.
The idea of exhaustion is also suggested by the use of compound words as we can infer by reading “bent double”, “knock-kneeds” and “blood-shod”, and by the use of metaphors as in line 6 and 7:”blood-shod” and “drunk with fatigue”.