There is Nothing Sweet or Proper About it
In Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est”, the aspects of war are not sugar coated or glamorized like it often seems to be. The irony of the poem is the title, which is part of the phrase "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" which translates to "Its is sweet and proper to die for one's country", so just based off that, one could assume that a poem titled with part of that phrase is encouraging the glory of serving one's country; that is until the poem is read. The speaker of the poem is to quick bring up the horrifying truths of war and expose it for what it truly is a hellish atmosphere where even after you escape the physical danger, the mental scars are still there.
The speaker is a soldier who appears to be from the First World War era. The poem starts off as a troop of soldier’s are making their way to a camp to rest. The speaker says, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,/ Knock-kneed, coughing like hags” (lines 1-2). The troop seems to be very tired and worn down from the fighting that has presumably gone on beforehand, and they are not doubt looking forward to their upcoming rest. That is until they come under enemy fire. The speaker says, “Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots/ Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.” (lines 7-8). The soldiers are so tired, they can hear the shells of the bullets being fired at them, falling behind them, so they are narrowing escaping the danger.
It’s not long until the bullets turn into gas, sending the soldiers into a frenzy trying to pull their gas masks over their faces. Unfortunately, one soldier in the troop was unable to do so. The speaker says,
“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."
(lines 11-14). The speaker is forced to watch a comrade slowly die from the gas. The effect on the...