An analysis of dulce et decorum est

These are used to describe the way in which the soldiers were walking.

Dulce et decorum est imagery

Patriotism "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," means it is sweet and proper to die for one's country. But any simple notion of 'passivity' that he reductively levels at Owen is countered in the poem not by the 'tragic joy' that Yeats privileged but by an altogether new kind of aesthetic and empathy. The speaker says that if you could follow behind that wagon where the soldier's body was thrown, watching his eyes roll about in his head, see his face "like a devil's sick of sin", hear his voice gargling frothy blood at every bounce of the wagon, sounding as "obscene as cancer" and bitter as lingering sores on the tongue, then you, "my friend", would not say with such passion and conviction to children desirous of glory, "the old lie" of "Dulce et decorum est". By the end of the poem, it appears the reader has been moved away from the "haunting" battlefield, and the setting becomes internal. He depicts them as old men, as "beggars". This verse greatly emphasises the feeling of loss that people suffered and even though Wilfred Owen is only talking about one man you know that there were many others just like him. Once optimistic, healthy soldiers have now been reduced to a miserable, exhausted gang who have little left to give. Owen heightens the tension through the depiction of one unlucky soldier who could not complete this task in time - he ends up falling, "drowning" in gas.

It's a shocking environment into which the reader is taken—one that is oppressive, dangerous and without any real hope. The allusion points to the idea that fighting and dying for your country is glorious.

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

dulce et decorum est literary devices

She is the "friend" Owen mentions near the end of his poem. Even after he physically witnessed the soldier dying from the effects of the poison gas, Owen cannot forget it: it haunts his dreams, a recurring nightmare.

dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

It's some time after the battle, but our speaker just can't get the sight of his dying comrade out of his head. Time is held in suspense as one nightmarish experience follows, and blurs into, another until the final part of the poem is literally about a nightmare: the repetitive rhythm of the march gives way to the traumatic compulsion to repeat.

Figurative language fights with literal language.

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Dulce et Decorum Est Poem Summary and Analysis