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Dulce et Decorum est

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Scott Chalmers

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of Dulce et Decorum est

How do all these ideas combine? Dulce et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori. "Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori" = "it is right and noble to die for your country" -Horace 'Odes' 13bc "Five-Nines" = 5.9 inch shells used to deliver chemical weapons during WWI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_weapons_in_World_War_I What don't you understand? "lime" = Quick lime (Calcium Oxide). A chemical which causes severe burns. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_oxide Re-read the poem Look for SYMBOLISM Dulce et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori. Repeated ideas throughout the poem How do all these ideas combine? Owen is concentrating on showing the reader the breakdown of the human body during war. Even before the gas attack in the second stanza he describes carefully how broken and battered the man are. 'Gassed' by John Singer Sargent Source: http://www.worldwar1.com/arm006.htm Analyse how the LANGUAGE creates this idea Figurative language (metaphors etc.), adjectives, verbs... Pick a couple of the best examples of LANGUAGE that show how Owen tells us the men are broken down. "But limped on, blood shod" - "blood shod"=Metaphor
Owen is describing the men as wearing shoes of blood (or their feet are so covered in blood it is acting as a shoe). This image creates a vivid picture in the reader's mind. It also emphasises the "limping" of the men. The metaphor tells us the men have been bleeding badly but have no choice but to walk, showing us how badly affected by the war their bodies are. "All went lame; all blind" = repetition
By repeating "all", Owen tells us that no-one was spared the injuries during the war. Saying everyone lost the ability to walk ("lame") and see ("blind") shows us that the gas attacks robbed men of their most important abilities for survival. Again this shows us that all of the men's bodies were affected by the war. Look for VERBS Words showing the passage of time Dulce et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori. Time moves from distant past, through a near past, to the present, then to a hypothetical future. Analyse what idea Owen is showing through his use of time in the poem. By having the poem move from a distant past to the present tense, Owen shows the reader that the events are not just memories for the poet. His use of present participles give the poem an immediacy which shows the effects of the war are ongoing for him. When he moves into a hypothetical future he challenges the reader to think about their own actions in relation to war. He also implies that there will be war in the future, that war is a constant event. Look for ANYTHING ELSE INTERESTING Unusual language, irony, references to books, odd ideas, anything you think is interesting! "Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori" = literary reference Analyse its purpose in the poem Owen uses a reference to a historical text (13bc) to create a link between his poem, about the horrors of war, and all text written that celebrate war. By accusing Horace of lying 1900 years ago, Owen is showing the reader that anyone who thinks that war is noble or great is wrong.
He also creates irony (for the same purpose) by using this reference in the title of his poem. "Tired, outstripped Five-Nines" = Personification Owen is using this personification to create a sense of tiredness. This image, combined with the the imagery throughout the first stanza of the men "drunk with fatigue" creates an idea of the whole world being exhausted. "My friend, you","if you" = personal pronouns Owen uses personal pronouns to challenge the reader to think about their own opinions about war. He asks the reader to picture themselves telling a child that dying for their country is a great honour. The obvious implication is that to gain that glory a person must die.
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