Dulce et Decorum Est and War

A discussion on whether the ideas explored in “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen are applicable to the First World War only or any war.

This paper examines how Wilfred Owen wrote the poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est”, to reflect on his experiences during the First World War and attempts to establish whether it can be applied to any war. It looks at how the purpose of Owen’s poem was to shock the reader and move away from the popularly believed image of war being glorious. It shows how the poem is made up of similes, metaphors and alliteration, which create many vivid visual and aural images some of which are applicable to the wars of today. This essay points out a number of similarities and differences between war today and as it was in the First World War by closely analyzing the techniques employed by Wildred Owen when he wrote the poem Dulce et Decorum Est.
Later on in his poem, Owen went on to describe the effects of a condition specific to World War One, trench foot. Trench foot is where, through lack of basic hygiene and standing in damp conditions, the foot begins to decay. This was described in Owen’s poem when he wrote: Many of them had lost their boots, but limped on, blood shod
This told the reader that there was a thin layer of blood around the foot, possibly a repercussion of trench foot. This was applicable to World War One because the soldiers worked in trenches under terrible conditions, but could not apply to any other war as trench foot is no longer allowed to happen – the men are kept in much better health and trenches are no longer a prominent part of war.

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