Dulce Et Decorum Est Critical Essay Notes

Then he moves into the past continuous: someone ‘ ..drowning.’ This indicates the passage of time, yet how the sight is still very real to Owen.However, the opening spondees of lines 1, 2 and 5 serve to arrest our attention, as does ‘blood-shod’ and ‘all blind’ in line 6.

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The way in which he addresses as ‘My friend’ those with whom he so strongly disagrees is ironic.

The poem consists of four stanzas of various lengths.

Each example emphasises the horror of the event: Owen’s use of alliteration builds as the pain worsens.

In the ‘wagon’ l.18 Owen exhorts us to ‘watch the white eyes writhing l.19 (the last ‘w’ being an example of eye-rhyme rather than audible).

The final four lines are his injunction to the reader to avert similar suffering in the future.

Stanza one is largely written using regular iambic pentameter, reflecting the relentless but, sadly, routine nature of the horror the men experience.

The use of the word ‘guttering’ is particularly unsettling.

A candle gutters as it goes out for lack of air, just as the man dies for lack of oxygen.

By contrast, the hollow emptiness of the final line is illustrated by writing only a trimeter followed by white space.

The heaviness and misery of the men is reflected in the slightly dull and routine ab ab rhyme-scheme.


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