Dulce Et Decorum Est

In the poem “Dulce Et decorum Est.”, the author Wilfred Owens describes a scene invloving soldiers during war. The phrase “Dulce Et decorum Est” is quoted from Horace and it means “It is sweet and dutiful to die for one’s one country.” After reading the poem, I believe the author of this poem does not agree with this quotation. At the very end of the poem he writes “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest to children ardent for some desperate glory, The Old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori”. Owen’s calling this phrase the old lie gives undoubtful evidence that he thinks different from Horace.In addition, he even infers that no one should tell this such “lie” or phrase to children. When he uses the term “desperate for glory” he makes me think that people who believe in this “old lie” want others to to think highly of war and to believe that dying during war is something respected.

I think Owens uses, at lease two of the three, of Aristotle’s rheotical appeals to convince us readers of his claim that it is not sweet to die for one’s country. Out of ethos, pathos, and logos, I recognize ethos and pathos being used the most in Wilfred Owen’s poem. The description of a soldier dying by drowning is an example of pathos. The emotion the author uses when he says “He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning……….and watch the white eyes writhing in his face……if you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs” makes the reader feel bad or sympathize with people who have died like this, and the ones who watched the death. Chapter Two taught us that poetic structure can increase the appeal of pathos. The fact that Owens uses broken down lines in his poem compared to regular essay format makes the reader read slower and feel more emotion. Owens also uses ethos, or evidenence, because the poem is in first person. The description in the poem is probably actually what Owens experienced. The descriptive words from the poem make it seem as if Owen’s seen these events with his own eyes. He recalls what he sees and even what he hears.

I actually do not agree nor disagree with Wilfred Owen. I respect everyone who fights for their country, especially the ones who have lost their life along the way. However, I personally would not want to be a soldier. It might be dutiful to die for one’s country, but I do not believe it would be sweet, at all.


One thought on “Dulce Et Decorum Est

  1. Thank you for your analysis, it was very detailed! I rather enjoyed how you broke down the poem and explained your insight on it, great job. I was also caught by this poem; it is a very descriptive piece of literature about a soldiers experience on the battlefield. I agree that this poem shows the use pathos with its incredible description of the man chocking to death from the gas. It puts you right in the mix of the battle, and in a way lets you experience it for yourself. It gives a pretty heavy tug on your emotions when you can picture a man in front of you going through such an agonizing death. This is a great poem, I was captivated by it myself! Keep up the good work!

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