Dulce et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen
Dulce et Decorum Est Theme of Warfare
As Owen describes it, war becomes a never-ending nightmare of muddy trenches and unexpected gas attacks. Interestingly, with the new-fangled technology of WWI, there doesn't even need to be a real enemy present to create the devastation and destruction. Set in the middle of a gas attack, this poem explores the intense agony of a world gone suddenly insane – and the unfortunate men who have to struggle through it. As the poem itself asks, how can anyone condone so much suffering?
Questions About Warfare
- Does the description of battle in this poem seem realistic? Can you easily imagine it? Why or why not?
- Do you have any sense of why the soldiers in this poem are fighting?
- Describe the most vivid images in this poem. Are they actually battle-images?
- Whom does the speaker blame for the continuance of the war?
Chew on This
"Dulce et Decorum Est" becomes a chronicle of the living dead: the soldiers whose minds remain trapped in the horrors of battle.