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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dulce Et Decorum Est

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Dulce Et Decorum Est


Wilfred Owen


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,


Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,


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Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs


And towards our distant rest began to trudge.


Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots


But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;


Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots


Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.


GAS! Gas! Quick, boys! �An ecstasy of fumbling,


Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;


But someone still was yelling out and stumbling


And floundering like a man in fire or lime.�


Dim, though the misty panes and thick green light


As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.


In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,


He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams you too could pace


Behind the wagon that we flung him in,


And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,


His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;


If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood


Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,


Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud


Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--


My friend, you would not tell with such high zest


To children ardent for some desperate glory,


The old Lie Dulce et decorum est


Pro patria mori.


“Dulce Et Decorum Est”, by Wilfred Owen, is Latin for “It is sweet and honorable to die for one’s country”. This poem is about war when gas was first used in World War 1. The first stanza is describing how the soldiers in World War 1 took cover from the enemy and got gas shells thrown in their trench. In the second stanza it describes how all the men scramble to get their masks on and one man doesn’t get the mask on quick enough and starts to inhale the deadly gas. The last two stanzas three and four are telling about a dream of probably a friend dying from the gas. It also tells how if you would have seen these men die, “gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs” you would not tell young naive children it is sweet and honorable to die for their country. My theme is endings and I chose this poem because some people that go to war die and I felt that it relates with my theme.


The rhyme scheme in this poem is ababcdcdefefghghijijklklmnmn, some half rhymes include “in” (line 18) and “sin” (line 0), and “glory” (line 6) and “mori” (line 8). I believe this poem has a tormented and angry tone. I say this because of the people dying from gas, it is torture. In the second stanza there is an example of alliteration, fumbling fitting. A couple examples of a simile in this poem would be, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks”; coughing like hags. The first stanza is an octave, the second stanza is a septet, the third stanza is a couplet and the forth is a blank stanza.





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