Analyse how language features were used to create a vivid setting.
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Dulce Et Decorum Est is a poem that was written by Wilfred Owen during 1917 and 1918.
Wilfred Owen was a soldier who fought in World War 1, and so he knew that war was a terrible, terrible place and experience that no one should have to ever go through. However, during World War 1, the media in the UK had portrayed the war as an adventure of a lifetime, a good time with mates, a game, and an experience that wouldn’t be forgotten. Wilfred Owen had indeed had an unforgettable experience, but one that he wished to forget. He knew that the media was lying to the public, getting young men to sign up to war, when they shouldn’t be, he knew it was all one masterful trick. Wilfred Owen wanted to stop the meaningless loss of young men’s lives, and so he wrote Dulce Et decorum Est to prove to the public that they don’t want to sign up to war. He did this by describing vividly, one of his many horrible experiences of the war. A gas attack.
Wilfred Owen uses numerous language features to describe, such as similes, metaphors, hyperbole, imagery, Irony and much more. And these language features help the reader visually and vividly imagine the gas attack.
In the first stanza, Wilfred Owen describes the state of the soldiers. He describes them as exhausted and tired to think, letting their legs slowly walk them forward. He does this because, it is the truth and, so that he can show to the UK public, and in particular the young men of UK that the media was lying to them and that war isn’t as great of an experience as they thought, but rather a horrid experience that no one would want to go through. He illustrates just how exhausted the soldiers were by using a simile, “Bent double, like beggars under sacks.” This compares the soldiers to beggars, and typically beggars are fighting for their lives, exhausted and it was unfavourable to be a beggar. Later during the stanza Owen also uses a hyperbole, “men marched asleep.” and later again, a metaphor, “drunk with fatigue.” Owen uses these to get across to the readers just how exhausted the soldiers were, it paints a vivid picture in the reader’s mind of stumbling soldiers as if they were on the brink of falling asleep, or if they were drunk. So by using language features in stanza 1, Owen can make the readers have a vivid image in their mind of tired, exhausted soldiers, stumbling along. This helps Owen convince the young men from the UK that signing up for war is an unfavourable idea.
In the second stanza Owen is describing the start of a gas attack. As anyone could imagine, being involved in a gas attack would be a brutal, scary experience. He describes the gas attack to convey to the UK that signing up to war means signing up for terrifying, near-death experiences. He describes the gas attack experience using a simile, “as under a green sea I saw him drowning.‘’ This simile compares a soldier suffocating from the green gas, to drowning in a sea. Once again, by doing this, it puts a pronounced picture in the reader’s mind. And by doing so, it demonstrates once again that war is a place filled with horrifying experiences, and so by using the language features to describe the gas attack, Owen can convince the UK public further to not sign up to war.
In stanza three Owen describes what happened after the gas attack, he shows that even though the frightening part is over, the soldiers are still not having a good time. Owen describes what he could personally hear and see to the reader, and he puts us into the graphic scene by using imagery. “If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.” by using this imagery, it illustrates a vivid, horrifying image to the readers, one that cannot be forgotten, this last attempt at describing the horrors of war is to convince the readers and public of UK, that war cannot be compared to a game, or great adventure, but rather it is filled with unforgettable memories that will haunt you for the rest of your lives. And so this imagery is to fully convince the public of the uK to not sign up toi war as they don’t know what they are getting into.
Further on in stanza three, Owen also uses Irony. “The old lie: Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori.” This means, it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. The whole point of Owen’s poem is about proving this statement wrong, but it is ironic as the title of his poem is “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” so he contradicts his title during the poem so that he could convince the public of the UK to not sign up for war. As it is not sweet nor fitting to die for your country.
In conclusion, the poem Dulce Et Decorum Est uses multiple language features to convince the UK public to not sign up to war, because the media was lying to them. The language features paint a graphic and vivid picture in the reader’s mind on what war actually is and in doing so, it helps UK realise that war wasn’t what they thought it was and that they shouldnt sign up for it.