Saturday, September 21, 2019
Dulce et Decorum Est - Wilfred Owens Poem Essay Example for Free
Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owens Poem Essay Dulce et Decorum Est Wilfred Owens renowned war poem for its frowning on the glorification on war, and The Last Night by Charlotte Gray, similarly depicting the effects of war on the unimpeachable youth, in prose form. Both are excellent representations of the devastation that war truly is and can only result in, and are both written in historical context, only Dulce et Decorum preceded the latter. Dulce directly juxtaposed another war poet, Jessie Pope, who romanticized the concept of it and really manipulated the patriotic conscience. The irony here is that the even after the former described the trauma that war produced, and the unacceptable manner in how people revered the act, the world went on to WWII. Which almost questions why did it happen, did not the destruction of the previous war play any guilt or effect on the countries leaders? Over the course of this essay, I aim to reveal the physical and mental effects of war as well as covering the idealism and the theme of slaughtering the innocents. In the beginning verse of Dulce, the author plays upon the image of a man walking. Contrastive to the propagandizing posters that were often seen at the time that rendered an erect, striding man holding a gun confidently- a picture of tired, old men is illustrated, which emphasizes the idea that they have aged far too quickly. Bent double, like old beggars and knock-kneed delineate a pigeon-toed figure suffering from pure fatigue an inadequacy to be what is defined as a soldier. In the simile, Coughing like hags, we cursed, we can hear the witch hoarseness of the cough the enigma here is the build-up this state if they have been simply marching through battles, like Jessie Pope presumed. A sense of utter sensory deprivation is conveyed through, Men marched asleep limped on, lame, all tired, drunk with fatigue, deaf even to the hoots. The immediate assumption here is that the men would, if given the choice, collapse in a heap of discomfort, subconscious, and fall asleep. The fact that they are compared to drunken men only accentuates their circumstance, a probable disparity between when they started out as recruits and this moment in the poem. They conjured up a web of deception, and empathy from us, as well as in The Last Night, when the children rest in deep sleep despite the appalling environment really showing their desperation for a moment of peace. The accumulation of all of this is that war has finally taken its toll, the young men evolving or more appropriately, regressing into haggard and withered creatures that have faced acute pain and loss. However, the change in pace within the stanza is evident when faced by death, we experience an ecstasy of fumbling, and this change in speed exposes their anxieties when in the full, frontal face of death, or perhaps the inexplicable torment of a gas attack, as they have seen their peers die in the hands of it before. As they fumble stressing the urgency of the situation not everybody manages to clamber on a gas mask in time. The poem is told from a first-person perspective, although this is not made clear at first, however, this allows us to interpret it from a first-hand simulation. The inevitability of the gas floating towards them like a death sentence is horrific -one soldier inhales it, and the devastating effects described in detail. We watch helplessly at him floundring like a man in fire or lime, which links to burnings at the stake, arguably the worst torture in existence. We see his eyes writhe in his face, a clear connotation of a loon, suggesting he is in an insane, maniacal state. And then his hanging face, like a devils sick of sin., only serves to show how much pain has been delivered. The men then fling him in a wagon which shows the dehumanization of the moment, and they watch him froth and gargle blood, twisting unnaturally. The incurable sores is exactly what it says, incurable. The physical effects are irrevocable, physically and mentally. Through use of emotive metaphors and similes, Owen molds an indubitably sickening portrayal of a suffering man, introducing the readers to the realities of war. Likewise, The Last Night also paints a picture of suffering, but in a far subtler manner. Unlike the soldiers in Dulce, the fate of these innocent, Jewish children is unavoidable for everyone, thus having a certain sadness to it. They have been sentenced to the gas chambers as well, and we can deduce that they will face like pain to the soldier in the previous paragraph, which, for a child, we all know is terrifying and never deserved. The pain we encounter in this extract is more that of basic deprivations, like food, water, and love too. We can understand that the children are exhausted because, despite the most likely uncomfortable surroundings, many of the children were too deeply asleep to be aroused. The children sleep in dung: the soft bloom of cheek laid, uncaring, shows a child with a tinge of rose in his cheeks, the sweetness and the unfairness of this trial he must endure. Again, they are reduced to an animalistic level, Jacobs limbs were intertwined with his [his brothers] for warmth.; this imitates two young, baby animals that lie together, unknowing of the worlds cruelties or the predators that stalk them. The children are ravenous and denied of sufficient food and drink, as they cluster around a woman holding out sardine cans for water, and as we know, these cans are remarkably slim and unsuitable to drink water from, especially when the can is passed around of a crowd. They are each provided with a sandwich, this severe rationing a punishment they do not deserve. The physical pain that is shown in this section of The Last Night is purely tiredness and hunger, two qualities good parents ensure their children are not. Their frail bodies find it difficult to withstand this, but the dramatic irony here is that their fate in store is much worse and absolutely inhumane. A shower of scraps was thrown towards them reiterates the animals they are being essentially treated as. As for the mental pain faced by the soldiers, it must surpass the physical by far. From the lies, to leaving their loved ones, the pain and the distant memories are even more difficult to face. Homesickness, when really experienced, can be a very intense and sad feeling, and this does not really raise any morale. One can only imagine their befuddlement when arriving to the trenches and wondering where their accommodation was. As continued from the previous, their mental velocity increased tremendously when in the face of adversity and death. This can only be expected, and is marked by the Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!. The mental anguish when they see their peer suffer but are utterly of no use in this is astounding, and the scene runs almost as a nightmarish sequence, as signified by Dim through the misty panes, and thick green light. In all my dreams before my helpless sight.. The dramatic verb drown is used, and they watch their former companion die in the sea of gas, they having escaped the same fate by only a second or two. This fact is enough to leave them in a state of momentary shock, and in the future, a play back of this episode is probably revisited by every soldier who saw the sight and regretted having being unable to help him in any way the same shock was experienced when all the Jews realized their time had come: a quickening of muscle and nerve in The Last Night. Through each line, we must remember whom the poem was addressed to, and we can sense some underlying bitterness. The triplet guttering, choking, drowning throws itself out with a dynamic impact. It wouldnt be expected for the children to know of their demise, but as seen in the excerpt, they seem to sense something wrong. This is why In the filthy straw, they dug their heels in and screamed. Instead of just struggling, they choose to scream, which reveals their internal uncertainties and distress. The metaphor dig means they are trying to fix themselves in the straw, and how they distrust the officers. They are forced towards and crammed in a bus, which again, brings back the animal-like treatment motif. As the adults wrote their possibly last messages which had no to little guarantee of delivery, some wrote with sobbing passion and some with punctilious care. Both adjectives suggest a degree of great mental turmoil, the only difference being the latter having some restraint. Yet there is a recognition of hopelessness in the atmosphere, the adults in the room sat slumped against the wall., the emotions going through them must have been complex, but ultimately, an increasing feel of nothing can be done, and giving up. This is not a movie where the resolution magically occurs, but this is a depiction of reality. As the officers call out their names alphabetically, in a standardized order, this shows how devoid of emotion or remorse they are, and how each child and each person is reduced to just another name. There is a nervous and tense atmosphere, it seems as if everybody is waiting for some justice to occur, but as we know, this does not happen. They are quickly thrown into the buses, the homely sound of a Parisian bus is somehow mocking to the whole scene. Probably the most heart-rending image is when a mother sees her child for the last time her eyes were fixed with terrible ferocity intensely open to fix the picture of her child, for ever. To see your child for the last time, to know of the death, to be able to do nothing about it, as in Dulce, there is the same sense of no faith or hope. The wails and screams of the women as they throw food towards the buses from the camp knowing the food will never reach, but desperately wanting to do something anyhow is the final time they will ever see their maternal figures, and the children are, precisely put, doomed. The fact that none of the officers act even merely touched by their fellow humans sadness is repulsive. Five municipal buses now stood trembling in the corner of the yard the buses are personified, which is a symbolic representation of their fear. The story concludes with the bus turning away, the headlights, for a moment, light up the cafÃ ¯Ã ¿Ã ½ opposite before the driver turned the wheel and headed for the station. This glimpse of something perfectly normal spotlights the unfairness of it all on the children who at one time, had that other life. The theme of glory and innocence is well covered in Dulce. In fact, the title is sufficient, To die for your country, is a sweet thing. The poem runs on to contradict it, ending with, The old lie: Dulce Et Decorum Est, Pro Patria Mori. And we are forced to agree, having been witness to the preceding bloodshed. If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs thy friend, you could not tell with such high zest, to children ardent for some desperate glory, The Old Lie:, this quotation sums up all the contempt he has for any form of glorification of war, when really it is ones own sacrifice rather than an obligation. It has a tinge of instruction to it, almost as if he trying to convince her in an angry, forceful way, and if he said it verbally, it seems as if it would increase with volume. This is quite justified, as Jessie Pope idealized war as fun, and liked it to a game, and that anybody who chickened out was basically a coward. This induced such an outrage that Owen felt he needed to prove how nauseating the concept was. He addresses the soldiers as children, which somehow brings out their naivety and how easy it is to convince adults generally lie to children in order to mask the truth. The young men were obviously targeted for recruiting and decided to join more out of fear of mockery rather than pure patriotism. The concept of innocence in The Last Night is brought up quite often, the youngness of the children is stressed upon. For example, Some children were too small to manage the step up and A baby few weeks cot was crammed into the bus. If the children are too small to even step onto the bus themselves, and require support, and they really criminals or infested jews? They are too young to even know the reason for their death, and as soon as they came into this world, they were stolen just as quickly. They have no ability to reason, no ability to know of the dangers, no ability to believe in anything, yet simply because of their religion something they are most likely unaware of they have been sentenced to die and never experience any of lifes pleasures. If they havent learnt simple motor skills, how can they be expected to react to a gas attack? The pure horror of it can never be condensed it is like those horror stories materialized. Dulce and The Last Night are both classic pieces of history, genuine and likely more realistic records of those corrupt events that hopefully will not happen ever again. They are both timeless, and dark reminders of why war shouldnt happen, although pain is still inflicted, every second. These two pieces are a reminder that pain can never truly be prevented as that is how a few are wired to work and these few have the power to influnce many others. However, the main point the pieces try to bridge across is the innocence of the fighters who are more like pawns or victims and the superfluous glorification of war. Something that pains another should never be laughed or promoted in any form, as fundamentally, we are one species, we are the same, as Shylock in the Merchant of Venice so eloquently expressed. The quotation Do unto others as others would do unto you, applies to both concepts the writers try to draw, but in the end, the sadness in both renditions of war is the dehumanization and of course, the gruesome massacres, but mostly, the indifference. The indifference of the bystanders as well as the leaders.