Dulce et Decorum est

7 July 2016

Dulce et Decorum est is a poem written by poet Wilfred Owen in 1917, during World War I, and published posthumously in 1920. Owen’s poem is known for its horrific imagery and condemnation of war. It was drafted at Craiglockhart in the first half of October 1917 and later revised, probably at Scarborough but possibly Ripon, between January and March 1918. The earliest surviving manuscript is dated 8 October 1917 and addressed to his mother, Susan Owen, with the message “Here is a gas poem done yesterday, (which is not private, but not final)”.

Formally, the poem can be understood as the combination of two sonnets, though the spacing of the stanzas is irregular. [citation needed] The text presents a vignette from the front lines of World War I; specifically, of British soldiers attacked with chlorine gas. In the rush when the shells with poison gas explode, one soldier is unable to get his mask on in time.

Dulce et Decorum est Essay Example

The speaker of the poem describes the gruesome effects of the gas on the man and concludes that, if one were to see firsthand the reality of war, one might not repeat mendacious platitudes like dulce et decorum est pro patria mori: “it is sweet and glorious to die for one’s country”. Through the poem, and particularly strong in the last stanza, there is a running commentary, a letter to Jessie Pope, a civilian propagandist of World War I, who encouraged—”with such high zest”—young men to join the battle, through her poetry, e. g.

“Who’s for the game? ” The first draft of the poem, indeed, was dedicated to Pope. [1] A later revision amended this to “a certain Poetess”,[1] though this did not make it into the final publication, either, as Owen apparently decided to address his poem to the larger audience of war supporters in general such as the women who handed out white feathers during the conflict to men whom they regarded as cowards for not being at the front. In the last stanza, however, the original intention can still be seen in Owen’s bitter address.

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