This essay sample on Dulce Et Decorum Est Theme And Message provides all necessary basic information on this matter, including the most common “for and against” arguments. Below are the introduction, body and conclusion parts of this essay.
The poems “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and “Five Ways to Kill a Man” written by Wilfred Owen and Edwin Brock respectively are similar in many ways but very different in others. Just by reading them once we can see they both have a very similar theme, that war is just ridiculous; there is nothing glorious or good about killing people.
Poetic devices are often used to help create certain feelings, and these two poems certainly reflect how these devices can be used to help the author express his ideas.
These two poems were written at different times and there is a gap of about 40 years between them, this difference shows quite clearly mostly in the structure of the poems and the way they are written.
“Five Ways to Kill a Man” is a very modern poem, It’s structure is not regular, although there are usually 7 lines in a stanza, we can not find such thing as iambic pentameter. The whole poem is a connotation, the author never uses names but expects the reader to know what he is talking about, If the poem had been written 50 years earlier, the use of connotation would have not been such a good idea, as educated people were less, and things such as the T.V radio and internet that nowadays allow people to learn more, didn’t exist back then, and you need to be aware of certain historical events to understand the poem, phrases like”
You can make him carry a plank of wood to the top of a hill and nail him to it” or “A nation’s scientists, several factories and a psychopath” are examples of connotation.
If you don’t know that he is talking about Jesus Christ and Hitler then the poem loses most of its message. “Dulce Et Decorum Est” was written by Wilfred Owen at the start of the century, actually during the war (he fought and died fighting). At that time people didn’t easily accept new ideas, and the style in which Wilfred Owen wrote the poem was very much the style used by most of the poets. It is written in a very traditional and old-fashioned way. We can see that the whole poem is written in iambic pentameter, this gives it a particular rhythm. The format used is very rigid and organised and in a way reflects how society was back then, conservative, limited due to all the rules and with a lack of freedom.
Poetic devices in both poems are used for the same purpose, to make clearer a feeling, a picture or idea. In modern times poets are more or less free to do what they want, in “Five Ways to Kill a Man” the author uses the format of the poem to help him with the message, he uses enjamberment to keep the impersonal effect of the poem, as if he is giving out a set of instructions, the tone used is so sarcastic it’s easy to picture the poem as a cooking recipe, and he describes each scene ironically making the reader realise how easy it actually is to kill a man and how ridiculous these wars have been. There aren’t many other poetic devices; there is no rhyme, no similes, metaphors or use of imagery, although the poem is very descriptive and we can picture the images easily The lack of devices can almost be considered as a device itself as the poem seems to be much more disorganised and less planned, as the structure of “Dulce Et Decorum Est” reflects society at that time, the structure of “Five Ways to Kill a Man” also reflects society now, more disorganised, chaotic and with a lack of structure.
In Wilfred Owen’s poem we can also see that the devices help with the message, the iambic pentameter gives the impression that the soldiers are marching; the author probably put a lot of attention on this device and on the format. Many of the traditional devices are present here; there is a regular a-b c-d rhyme and a lot of imagery and similes. “Bent double like old beggars under sacks, knock kneed coughing like hags” This is how the poem starts, right here these lines break with the idea that soldiers are always young healthy and glorious, we get to look at a different side of war, the side that propaganda didn’t show, because it wanted to encourage conscription, the non honourable or glorious side of war. By describing the soldiers as “old beggars under sacks” and comparing them to hags, he is pointing out they are only humans, in conditions that can hardly be considered human, walking almost asleep, tired, afraid, cold, and every day facing death. This poem is much more personal although it also tries to show how pointless war is.
Both poems although very different in ways of structure, have a very similar treatment of man’s inhumanity to man. Wilfred Owen shows how war is just a big lie, there is no justification for killing, there is nothing honourable about fighting and Edwin Brock ridicules the different wars in history by the way he refers to them and also criticises our society now, he states that society now is more dangerous than it has ever been, and it would be the same to kill a man by any of the means he talks about, than to just leave him in the middle of the twentieth century. This in my opinion is true, We humans are turning more inhuman each time, we have less value for life, as weapons develop It’s easier to kill, it becomes a less personal act, you no longer have to kill with your own bare hands, it’s enough to press a button. It is in this century when the most people have died and when the most repulsive crimes in history have taken place. We should forget about the “rules” of society and just live our own lives as we please, or we will sooner or later end up being corrupted by it too. The world now is decaying faster each day, although it has always been rotten.