Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen

Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred
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.
• 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
• 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
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
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:
• Onomatopoeia:
“Gargling” the sound
the man is making as
he is dying from
mustard gas.
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.

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