Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Presentation made by Aidan McGoff Biography of Wilfred Owen • Wilfred Owen was born in 1893 in Oswestry, England. They had to move to Birkenhead after his grandfather died bankrupt. • He began to read and write poetry as a child, and after his mother’s interest in religion, began to read the Bible on a daily basis. Biography • He could never get money to go to school as a child so he became an assistant to a clergyman when he moved to Dusden in 1911. • In 1913 he went to France to become a teacher, he was there in 1915 shortly after the outbreak of WWI and decided to go back to England and enlist in the war Speaker/Audience/Purpose • The speaker of a poem is a solider fighting in World War I • The audience is the reader and more specifically people of English society at the time. • The purpose is to warn the English people that being a solider is not the glorious thing English society makes it out to be, it is the exact opposite, being a solider is like going through hell is the point Owen is trying to get across to the reader. Poem Type and Meaning (first stanza) • The poem is a lyric poem, written in iambic pentameter. • The first stanza is about a group of soldiers who are out on the battlefield and are exhausted to the point that they are “bent double” meaning bent in half. They are “coughing like hags” as they “trudged through sludge”. The meaning of the first stanza is that it is supposed to paint a picture of this troop being in the absolute worst of conditions. Meaning ( second stanza) • “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!” • This line is important because it makes the poem now more dramatic. Mustard gas has gone off where they are standing and they must run otherwise their lungs will be poisoned and burn internally. A man who was too unlucky to get away from the gas inhales some and he is “floundr’ing like a man in fire or lime”. As he is dying he plunges at the speaker as he chokes, drowning in his own breath. Meaning (third stanza) • Here is where Owen makes his final case he asks the reader is if they could have seen his “white eyes writhing in his face” and if they could have heard “at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the forth-corrupted lungs” “his hanging face like a devil’s sick of sin;” even the devil who is the master of evil and sin is sick of the horrors seen on the battlefields by these soldiers that you would understand the “The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est pro patri mori.” Dulce et decorum est pro parti mori means, “It is sweet and right to die for your country.” Owen highlights that this idea is a very traditional lie and that it is not in-fact prideful or necessary to die defending one’s country. Simile and Metaphor • Simile: “flound’ring like a man in fire or lime” comparison of the man who is screaming from breathing in mustard gas to a man who is on fire or quicklime which was a chemical that would burn someone’s skin. • Metaphor: “Drunk with fatigue” The soldiers are so utterly exhausted they have become inebriated. Used to make it clear just how disoriented and tired these soldiers truly are. Symbol and Hyperbole • Symbol: “writhing white eyes” symbol for death • Hyperbole: “Bent double” it means as though they are bent in half when the soldiers literally can not be physically bent in half. it is an exaggeration used to show the reader how physically exhausted the soldiers are. Synecdoche and Metonymy • Synecdoche: “FiveNines” which are 5.9 caliber explosive shells. • Metonymy: “Distance rest” refers to the camp away from the front line where soldiers would rest. Personification and Apostrophe • Personification: “clumsy helmets” giving the helmets the human quality of being clumsy. • Apostrophe: “My friend” His friend isn’t actually there, here he is referring to the reader who is not present in the scene with him. Assonance, Consonance, Dissonance • Assonance: “hags and sacks” repeated (ah) sound • Consonance: “Men marched asleep.” repeated m used to link how the men marched asleep. • Dissonance: “high zest” and “bitter as the cud” zest is a hard z sound mixed with the harsh st sound and cud is the hard k mixed with the harsh d sound. Alliteration and Repetition • Alliteration: “Knockkneed” repeated beginning k used to emphasis how tired the soldiers were. • Repetition: “Gas! Gas!” Combined with the exclamation point, shows huge emphasis on the impact the gas has on the speaker. Rhyme Scheme and Onomatopoeia • Rhyme Scheme: ABABCDCDEFEFGHGHI JIJKLKLMNMN • Onomatopoeia: “Gargling” the sound the man is making as he is dying from mustard gas. Bibiliography WILFRED OWEN - DULCE ET DECORUM EST, Text of Poem and Notes." WILFRED OWEN - DULCE ET DECORUM EST, Text of Poem and Notes. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2013. "Wilfred Owen: Biography." Wilfred Owen: Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2013.