Dulce et Decorum Est

What images are presented in the text?

There are many images presented in this poem by Wilfred Owen. The first image that stands out to me in the text is “Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,” this is in the first stanza of the poem and it immediately gives me the image that they are sick, injured, and are continuously cursing at the fact that they are still here. The previous sentence “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,” shows the reader that the war has disabled them, given the pain and suffering. “Bent double” give the image that the men are sick and tired, it as almost the war is breaking them down they are low and crippling. This relates to “knock-kneed”,  young men would not have this occur to them usually.  It is something that would affect older persons but in this case, the men are breaking and this is one side effect.

“Coughing like hags” immediately draws the readers attention to think of witches. They have seen so much evil in the war is it possible that they are entering that side of humanity themselves? Coughing is also much related to the fact that men drank and smoked before, during and after the war. 

How do these images affect our understanding our understanding of the events, the setting, the people, the atmosphere (feeling)?- I think I have answered this in the previous related question.

What specific vocabulary has been chosen to add meaning to the text?

Wilfred Owens uses Latin throughout this poem including the title. Latin at the time was widely taught in schools and a very well known language. The words being,  “it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”, an inception that was used at the time of world war one to get men to join the army and fight. Wilfred Owens writes the poem with such rawness of the war to alert his mother that it is not all that it is said to be. Horrifying!


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