Owen’s use of imagery in “Dulce Et Decorum Est”


How does Owen’s use of imagery in “Dulce Et Decorum Est” help the reader to understand the underlining meaning (or theme) of the poem? What effect do they have on the reader and our perception of war? In your answer, make sure to identify specific images and explain why the poet created, or included, these images in the way that he did.

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Wilfred Owen’s use of imagery in “Dulce Et Decorum Est” is incredibly effective in conveying the poem’s underlying meaning and theme. The poem is an anti-war poem, and Owen uses imagery to create a vivid and disturbing picture of the horrors of war.

One of the most striking images in the poem is the image of the soldier’s “gas-masked face” (line 14). The gas mask is a symbol of the dehumanizing effects of war. It robs the soldier of his identity and makes him look like a monster. The image is also a reminder of the poisonous nature of war. The gas is literally killing the soldier, but it is also poisoning his soul.

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Another powerful image is the image of the soldier “gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs” (line 19). This image is both disgusting and heartbreaking. It shows the physical and psychological effects of gas poisoning. The soldier is literally drowning in his own blood and mucus. The image is also a reminder of the waste of war. This young man is dying for no good reason.

Owen also uses imagery to create a sense of chaos and confusion. The poem is full of jarring images, such as “the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle” (line 11) and “the blood-dimmed tide” (line 21). These images create a sense of urgency and danger. They also make it difficult for the reader to get a clear picture of what is happening. This sense of chaos and confusion is meant to reflect the experience of war. War is a confusing and disorienting experience. It is difficult to make sense of the violence and death.

The overall effect of Owen’s use of imagery is to create a powerful and disturbing picture of the horrors of war. The images are meant to shock and disgust the reader. They are also meant to make the reader think about the true cost of war. War is not glorious or heroic. It is a dirty, ugly, and deadly business.

Owen’s poem is a powerful reminder of the importance of peace. It is a call to end war and to prevent future generations from experiencing the horrors that he witnessed.

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