Figures of speech are used by authors to say something in relation to another. The Poet Wilfred Owen used a number of figures of speech in his poem “The Dulce et Decorum Est”. This paper looks at how he applied the use of figures of speech in his poem. It also gives and quotes examples from the poem.
The irony is used when a writer or a poet tries to make the readers see the difference between the reality and appearance. The title of the poem, when translated into English, would mean “sweet and proper“. This ironical because it implies that it is sweet and proper for men to march while asleep. It is also not proper to say that men march and fight hard that they end up not looking like men. In the first stanza of the poem, the speaker talks of the hags and beggar, which are in the real sense not the people that anyone would want to see on their national platforms during such important occasions. Many things in the poem, including the gas shell that is almost dropping and becoming knock-kneed and bent double.
There are a number of similes the poet used in “Dulce et Decorum Est”. He talks of the bent double, like old beggars under sacks. This is merely a figure of speech because the backs and bodies of the soldiers would be curved as those of the old beggars with dirty and loose clothes. The poet likens the dying man to a man who walks over fire and lime. The soldier’s face is likened to the devil’s sins. His hanging face. Like a devil’s sick of sick. The taste of bold that comes out of the soldier’s mouth is likened to the ruminant animal’s cud. The poet the blood is as “bitter as the cud”
The poet compares the wine that makes people lose control of themselves. He says that they were “Drunk with fatigue”. He also compares the sound made by the blood coming from the soldier’s mouth as the sound of water from the gutter when he uses the word “guttering.”
These are the words Owen used to bring contradictions in his sentences. The phrase ecstasy of fumbling” gives the picture of two opposite things in life. One talks of pleasure and another one about displeasure. The lungs and tongues are supposed to be part of a healthy human being. The poet says that they are froth-corrupted which means they are not healthy.
The most conspicuous form of imagery used in the poem is the word “drowning”. In lines 13 and 14, the speaker describes the soldier who ingested gas because he could not have his gas mask on time. He talks of the green light and the misty panes to show how looked at the soldier through his gas mask. The mask is tinted green in the manner to the green sea. The effect of mustard gas on human beings also brings the idea of drowning to light. When the gas gets into a person’s lungs, it burns the tissues within and makes it release water and blood, which the speaker says drowned the victim.
In lines 15 and 16, the speaker continues to describe the horrific scene that continues to disturb him afterward. The narrator is not a peace with the fact that the soldier drowned in next to him, on a dry land and he could not do anything to help him out his misery.