Dulce et Decorum Est is a poem written by Wilfred Owen during World War I It is a dramatic and hauntingly evocative poem that paints an awful picture of the effects of warfare on the soldiers. The original Latin title of the poem translates literally to “it is sweet and honorable” and reflects the common ethos that soldiers should be willing to die for their country. The poem’s speaker, who is a veteran of the war, debunks this popular belief as he reflects on his own experiences.
The poem is composed of three stanzas, each of which has a distinct focus and tone. In the first stanza, the speaker introduces his disillusionment with the war. He begins by describing the physical and mental exhaustion of the men as they struggle over the mud and barbed wire of the battlefield. He then moves to a more emotive tone as he speaks of the gasses that “caught” the men, leaving them to die “like hags”, and leaving them with a “haunting” and “blood-shod” memory. The second stanza further emphasizes the suffering of the men, using vivid imagery and vivid language to describe the agony and desperation of the men’s plight. Lastly, the third stanza is a call to action, as the speaker begs his audience to consider the plight of the soldiers and not to romanticize the idea of dying for one’s country.
The poem is a powerful and oft times heartbreaking piece of literature and has been the source of many interesting essay topics. Some of the best ideas are as follows:
1. Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s Use of Language and Imagery In Dulce et Decorum Est: This essay would examine the various language devices and imagery used by Owen to convey the gruesomeness and harshness of war.
2. A Comparison of Dulce et Decorum Est and Other WWI Poetry: This essay would compare and contrast the themes, imagery and language of Owen’s poem to other works of WWI poetry.
3. The Impact of Dulce et Decorum Est on WWI Literature and Beyond: This essay would look at the lasting impact of the poem and how it shaped both WWI literature and later works as well.
4. Dulce et Decorum Est: A Reflection of Wilfred Owen’s Experiences in War: This essay would look at Owen’s personal experiences in the war and how they shaped his work.
5. An Analysis of the Ideology of Death in Dulce et Decorum Est: This essay would explore how Owen expresses his ideas of war and death in the poem and how these ideas evolve throughout the poem.