“Dulce et Decorum Est”

Contrary to Jarrell and Szymborska, Wilfred Owen in his poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” induces some form of shock of individuals at home who thought that going to war was a privilege, glorious and a noble thing. He reveals the reality at war zones inducing pity from the civilians. He starts his poem by using similes and metaphors while describing the soldiers who were coming back from war: “The soldiers are limping back from the Front /such is the men's wretched condition that they can be compared to old beggars, hags” (line 5). From this introduction it is evident that men who went to the war have been greatly affected by its resultant effects. At the beginning they were young, had smart uniforms. After the war they are described as old beggars in rags and in a wretched condition.

The soldiers are physically and mentally destroyed. He notes that “they cannot walk straight as their blood-caked feet try to negotiate the mud” (line 6). They have been subjected to dehumanizing conditions. Owen creates a literal and ambiguity meanings as he makes the reader come into reality about the wars. Dramatic moments are depicted such as through the use of words “blood-shod” (line 8). Moreover, Owen shows the horrifying events that take place in war zones as he witnesses a comrade dying in agony. This man died as he failed to put his helmet on in time.

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Owen also focuses on the aftermath of war. He is faced with nightmares due to the sights he witnessed at the war. For instance, he gives an imagery of a friend who died in his sight yet he could not do anything to help him. In this case Owen depicts haunting and terrifying images that normally take place at war zones. For instance, how comrades die at “my helpless life”. These images are never forgotten and keep on haunting those who survived the war. On the other hand, there are people at home who believe that war is prestigious. In this case Owen attacks them for their naivety in upholding war yet they are unaware of the reality at the ground. He states that if those civilians at home can have experience such as what he had, they could change their perception. Owen had “smothering dreams” (line 15) as he witnessed a friend die in his helpless sight. Those sufferings enable one to change his or her perception towards war.

In conclusion, the three poets use different point of view in expressing their theme of war. Szymborska focuses on the fact that when people forget about the adverse effects of war, they are likely to engage in another war as they seem not to remember. Thus, war becomes a cycle in humanity. On the other hand, Jarrell deals with the traumatic and hopelessness associated with war. Finally, Owen deals with the reality in war zones. He uses similes and metaphors to show the agony soldiers go through. He warns against the believe that the war is a noble thing to the civilians arguing that they should at least have an experience as he had in order to change their perception. Although the three poems cover the same topic of war, each poet takes his or her own approach creating more insights in the topic “faces of war”.

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