Compare the ways in which Owen powerfully portrays the physical and mental consequences of war in Dulce et Decorum and Disabled
Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" is a magnificent, and terrible, description of a gas attack suffered by a group of soldiers in World War I. One of this group is unable to get on his helmet, and suffers horribly. Through his shifting rhythms, dramatic description, and rich, raw images, Owen seeks to convince us that thehorror of warfar outweighs the patriotic cliches of those who glamorize war.
"Dulce et Decorum est", is the poem byWilfredOwen, written todisplaythe terrible conditions of theFirstWorld War, and to increase awareness of it. Owen uses many writing techniques to get across his message, in the most affective way. In the opening stanza, Owen uses alliteration for the first few lines "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knock-kneed,coughinglike old hags, we cursed through sludge." This introduces you to the soldiers, as helpless, and weak, and gives the words more emphasis, making them stand out to be significant. Assonance was also used in these lines, in "cursed through sludge", which ties the words together very well, andhighlightsthe more important ones. The short sentences used give the poem a slow pace in the first stanza, whichaddsto the effect. Also In the first of four stanzas, Owen presents the death-like calm before the storm of the gas attack. Alliteration and onomatopoeia join with powerful figurative and literal images of war to produce a pitiful sense of despair. "Bent beggars", "knock-kneed", cough and "curse" like "hags" through "sludge." All of this compressed into just two lines! The third line places the speaker of the poem with this trudging group. In the simple "Men marched asleep" sentence, the three beats imitate the falling rhythm of these exhausted men. The pun "blood-shod" makes its grim effect on us slowly. We guess, too, that "blind" and "lame" suggest several levels of debilitation. The stanza ends with the ironic-quiet sounds of the "shells" dropping "softly behind."
In contrast to the first stanza, the second stanza is full of action. The oxymoron,"ecstasy of fumbling", seems at first odd, but then perfect, as a way to describe the controlled panic -instantly awakened with heightened sensibility- of men with just seconds to find a gas mask. "But..." tells all. One man is too late and is seen only through the "green sea" of mustard gas, "yelling... stumbling...drowning...guttering...choking."
The third stanza's brief two lines emphasize the nightmare these events continue to be for our speaker. In the last stanza, Owen becomes more insistent as he drives atus with the steady rhythmic beat of iambic pentameter. We feel the "jolt" of the wagon, see the "white eyes writhing" in this "hanging face," and, most horribly, hear the "gargling "of the blood choked lungs. The amazing sound-filled simile, "like a devil's sick of sin," testifies, along with all the rest, to the overwhelming truth of this experience. It is not "if" we could see the horror of this scene. We do see it - through the vitality and freshness of Owen's language. And, as he predicted, having seen it, we agree with him that the old Latin proverb -dulceet decorumest...- is indeed an odious Lie.
On the other hand the poem Disabled Wilfred Owen portrays the horror of war by using dramatic contrasts, powerful imagery, devastating irony and by generating a strong feeling of sympathy for the subject of the poem. The contrasts between health and illness feature heavily in the poem and give a before and after picture of the subjects life. Before the war the boy in the poem had played football,"After the matches." "It was after football"and now he does not even have the equipment to play, i.e. legs,"Legless, sewn short at the elbow."There is also a contrast used in describing age"younger than his youth" and "he is old."This is an example of juxtaposition as these lines are one immediately after the other. As well as this Owen shows how attitudes towards the subject have changed,"girls glanced", "lover" and "womens eyes passed from him"This shows that the women who had once admired him now only looked at him with pity and, "touch him like some queer disease."Blood is used in a graphic contrast in the third stanza,"Hes lost his colour far from here.""A leap of purple spurted from his thigh."These lines give you a real image of how horrific military injures could be and the irony that the subject of the poem had once, "liked a blood smear down his leg" becomes extremely depressing. There are examples of contrasts between the moods of people pre and post war. It is shown that before the war people were happier,"Voices of play and pleasure,"but now there is a more solemn atmosphere, "Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn." This line also has connotations of a funeral. The poem shows that before the war the subject would have been out with his friends just now, "About this time Town used to swing so gay ." However now he is unable to go out with friends. In the poem Disabled many of the techniques from Dulce et Decorum est have been used to give the same effect. An example of this is the use of personification. The word fear is used to make the reader feel the horror of the situation, as the word has been personified. Personifying the word makes it seem more traumatic and more threatening for the reader. It gives the reader a definite picture, making it a lot easier to imagine.
Where it says Why wont they come? it is because he is sick and tired living his life now that he is disabled. He cant cope or adjust to the new, unfair way of living. His mind is brainwashed by the subject of death, and constantly thinks about dying himself. These questions are repeated a couple of times at the end of the poem to make the reader think.
Afterwards, a euphemism is used for death. In the line waiting for darkness, meaning waiting for death, as darkness is a euphemism for death. This is because death is dark, and when you die, all you see is darkness as it is the end.
The line misery swelters shows that from every tiny part of the solider, misery pours out. I think the word swelters describes the misery as if it is sweat, which is continuously pouring out, like the misery they are experiencing.
Following that, the line dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds afresh, shows using a simile. As dawn breaks, it is the start of a fresh new day, and produces an orangey-redcolour. In comparison, this is what the wound is like.Meanwhile, therefore still their eyeballs shrink, tormented, means it hurt them every time to remember. They get up every morning and realize that life goes on, but unfortunately all of their old pain and mental scars still remain.
Ravished means minds have been overtaken and controlled by death. This relates to the part of the poem where it says why wont they come? as this also shows a sense of brainwashed mind by death.
Ultimately, Wilfred Owen has clearly shown that war has affected the minds of soldiers who were at war. The thoughts of their experiences will remain with them eternally, and so will their physical scars.
All exceptional poetry displays a good use of figurative language, imagery, and diction. Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" is a powerful antiwar poem which takes place on a battlefield during World War I. Through dramatic use ofimagery,metaphors, anddiction, he clearly states his theme that war is terrible and horrific.
The use of compelling figurative language helps to reveal the reality of war. In the first line, "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks," shows us that the troops are so tired that they can be compared to old beggars. Another great use of simile, "His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin," suggests that his face is probably covered with blood which is the colour symbolizing the devil. A very powerful metaphor is the comparison of painful experiences of the troops to "[v]ile, incurable sores on innocent tongues."This metaphor emphasizes that the troops will never forget these horrific experiences. As you can see, Owen has used figurative language so effectively that the reader gets drawn into the poem.This can show what physical and mental differences the soldiers experienced during the war.
The images drawn in this poem are so graphic that it could make readers feel sick. For example, in these lines: "If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood/ Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs/ Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud,"(21-23) shows us that so many men were brutally killed during this war. Also, when the gas bomb was dropped, "[s]omeone still yelling out and stumbling/ [a]nd flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.../ [h]e plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning."(11-12,16) These compelling lines indicate that men drowned helplessly in the toxic gasses. These graphic images are very disturbing but play a very effective role in the development of the poem.
Another tool in developing the effectiveness of the poem is the excellent use of diction. The word "blood-shod" explains how the troops have been on their feet for days without rest. Also, words like "guttering", "choking", and "drowning" shows us that the troops are suffering in extreme pain and misery. If you haven't noticed, most of these words are examples of cacophony, which are words with harsh and discordant sounds. As this poem is about how harsh and terrible war is, Owenss use of cacophony is very effective in generating the tone of the poem.
In Disabled Wilfred Owen demonstrates the human cost of war in this poem. He reflects the decisions the youth made when going to war, thinking that going to war would be an adventure which turned out to be the opposite. The memories scar them for life for who ever survives. Hence the title of 'disabled'. They aren't necessarily all physically disabled but mentally scared from the traumas of war.
Unfortunately for the war veteran in this poem he was left both physically and mentally scared with no one to even lay an eye on him. All he had were the nurses to assist him, but even then he was lonely. This was suggested in the poem when Owen narrated "Now he will never feel again how slim Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands, All of them touch him like some queer disease". This is reflecting how the man in the wheelchair fears he will never find a girl who will love him and not pitifully.
Owen demonstrates how naive the minds of young boys were during this period. Lines such as "Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts" or "Someone said he'd look a god in kilts" suggests that he joined the army to impress others and to maintain this popular image that he seemed to possess. Then the following lines, "Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears" and "He thought of jewelled hilts For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes" further demonstrates that the young soldier clearly has no real view on what war is (the real image of war is vividly depicted in other Owen poems such as Dulce et Decorum Est or The Show.
Obviously, others have already posted that essentially the poem is about this man reminiscing about his wonderful past. The line "He wonders why..." simply demonstrates his realisation now that he made a monumental mistake. Contract of his life as a youth, this life in his metaphoric old age. Language evokes a feeling of depression, isolation, unable to interact with girls/society. Disabled is essentially a war poem which expresses the dolorous thoughts and recollections of a teenage soldier who lost his limbs at war and is now confined to a wheel chair. It outlines the physical, mental and social consequences of a senseless young boy joining war, believing that a wonderful reward would come his way upon his return. Instead, he is severely injured at war and returns home only to find that he is segregated from society and given little notice and heed to.