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Dulce et Decorum Est

 Context The Poet
Wilfred Owen is one of the most famous war poets. He was born in 1893 and died in 1918, just one week from the end of World War One. His poetry is characterised by powerful descriptions of the conditions faced by soldiers in the 1. ___________.

World War One
World War One took place between 1914 and 1918 and is remembered particularly for trench warfare and the use of gas. Owing to the technological innovations in use during the war, it is often referred to as the first modern war.

The War Poets
Poems by war poets are often violent and realistic, challenging earlier poetry which communicated a pro-war message. The first-hand experience of war is arguably one reason why there is such a shift in the attitude of poets towards war.

 Theme
The poem describes a gas attack on a trench in World War One and reveals to the reader its terrible consequences: 'the blood / Come 2.___________ from the froth-corrupted lungs'. It also presents the unglamorous reality of trench life, with the soldiers described as being 'like old beggars'. The Latin used at the end of the poem means 'It is sweet and honourable to die for your country', a concept Owen is strongly denying.

 Structure
There is not a clearly defined structure to the poem, although Owen does make use of rhyme, mostly on alternate line endings. The poem is structured round 3.___________ images.  The first image in the opening stanza: a group of soldiers move through no-man’s land in an attempt to get back to the relative safety of the trenches. The soldiers are described as “asleep”, “lost”, “limped”, “blood-shod”, “lame”, “blind”. The second image (found in the second stanza) is more dramatic. It has an almost dreamlike quality as the poet watches from behind his gas mask. As the thick 4.___________ smoke washes over the men, the poet uses a striking simile of the sea to describe the gas. But one man fumbles with his mask and is overcome by the fumes and “drowns” in the sea of thick smoke. Third and final image pictures the dead man as his body is put on a wagon filled with the bodies of other dead soldiers. Death is described as ‘obscene’ compared to ‘vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues.’ These are the images which wi ll always haunt the survivors. Although young men went to war with the promise of 5.___________ and comradeship, in these lines the poet presents us with the awful truth about war: A brutal waste of life.

they 'trudge'. impressionable young men are almost lured to war by the promise of 'desperate glory'. His choice of the word '12. 'Knock-kneed. The old Lie' He is rejecting the accepted attitude back at home that serving your country in war is glorious. but that they are so tired they have been brought down to the level of beggars who have not slept in a bed for weeks on end. and they are described in the most unglamorous. The use of 8.___________ ' is also significant. drowning'." This not only says that they are tired. choking. His hanging face. They are 'deaf'. .___________ to put on their gas masks before they choke. The first words of the second stanza (Gas! Gas! Quick boys!) change the pace of the poem. Owen also compares the victim's face to the devil. Language The opening stanza is characterised by language about 'fatigue': the soldiers 'marched asleep'.  Attitudes and Ideas The opening of the poem suggests Owen pities the state to which the soldiers have fallen.___________: 'My friend. Owen's bitterness at this transformation is obvious. used to convince men to go to war. or great enthusiasm." with the memories of the troops. It not only tells the reader how the troops will never forget the experience. strong fighters they are 'Bent double'.. like a devil's sick of sin.___________ about these frightening scenes. The language used in the sections depicting the gas attack is strong.vile. all rather pitiful language intended to reveal the reality of 6.. seeming corrupted and baneful. The speaker describes a vision in a dream of a gas victim 'guttering.___________ on the 'w' sound reflects the agonised twisting of the gas victim.___________ and its effects. Owen's imagery presents the men as prematurely old and weakened. The listed verbs are associated with a lack of air and death. The repetition of the word 'face' makes it clear which element disturbs the speaker most: the transformation in the face of the victim. and 'limped on'. but also how they keep 10. This use of rhythm in the poem is slow to reflect the slow movement of the exhausted soldiers. He sees war as brutal and wasteful of young lives. making it more urgent as the panicked soldiers have only a few 9. Instead of youthful. 'lame' and 'blind'. coughing like hags'. inglorious manner. He is critical of the 'high zest'. Owen's disillusionment with war is also clear from the closing lines of the poem. Owen uses a simile to describe the troops as being "like old beggars under sacks.. you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory. incurable sores. representing both the anguish of the victims of the gas attack as well as the effect on those haunted by what they have seen: 'watch the white 7. War has broken these men. / His hanging face'. A metaphor even more effective is one that compares ". Metaphors and similes Right off in the first line.___________ writhing in his face. After describing the horrifying effects of the gas attack he addresses the 11..

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