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Dulce Et Deorum Est

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 09:21 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.9 
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Wilfred Owen wrote Dulce et Decorum Est about the first World War, in which he had personally fought.   It was addressed to Jessie Pope, a writer of other poems concerning the War.   Specifically he wrote the poem to counteract her poem “Who’s For The Game?”.   Owen felt that Pope did not comprehend the seriousness of the war in her portrayal of the battle as a rugby game.   Pope conveyed the participants of the ‘game’ were admirable and those who sat on the sidelines shunned and disregarded.   His poem seems very depressing and gloomy, particularly in comparison, but is it not more realistic?   Owen was a soldier himself, would he not know more about the horrors that war brings than the female poet, who could only be permitted to watch from the outside of her competitive yet carefree game of rugby?   Personally, I think he would.   At the time, Owen was put into a psychiatric hospital because the war had so badly affected him, broken his character.   It was there that he met Siegfried Sassoon, who had been put into psychiatric care for writing poems that the authorities thought put the war into a negative light.   It was Sassoon who encouraged Owen to become a poet, and they became good friends.   The way Owen writes is very much sane and some would say he was quite an influential character.   So how does Owen compare the horrors of war?

  From the very first line you become aware that the poem is not likely to be as light and cheerful as Pope’s poem.   The line is;

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks

which is already a rather miserable tone.   We see how Owen has begun to set the mood for his piece already.   He describes the soldiers’ crooked stance and compares them to old beggars, uncomfortable and undesirable.   In the second line he goes on to say that the men are knock-kneed and compares their coughs to those of hags.   Again the undesirable, slightly unpleasant note is illustrated through the diction.   The soldiers sound unwell, probably...


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