The die for one’s country”. The speaker
The title of this poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est” has to do with something being sweet. The speaker himself is a soldier as he uses the imagery of, “As under a green sea, I saw him drowning” (line 14). This imagery displays a somber tone and shows that he is traumatized from what he has seen. The speaker uses similes in “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks/ Knock-kneed,coughing like hags we cursed through sludge”(lines 1-3), to express their negative view on war. The speaker is saying that the war has caused these people to deteriorate physically and change as people. He uses “All went lame; all blind”(line 6) to show that these people in the world are stuck in this war and are blinded from the bad things that they have encountered. Also, the speaker uses the imagery of lines 9-16 to intensify how horrifying the experience of war can be like. In, “And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…” (line 12) the speaker uses floundering as a metaphor to a fish being weak to lime. Also when someone is floundering they are struggling to walk, just like a fish out of water and seasoned with lime, the soldier is out in the open and being burned with fire. That experience is very traumatizing and painful. In addition, the speaker uses the simile, “Obscene as cancer” (line 23) to show that war is as lethal, horrifying, and almost incurable as cancer. The poem itself has a very complicated and overwhelming look to it, just like a war itself. The poem also begins with a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCD, then later in the last stanza this rhyme scheme is not continued. This is done to exhibit how volatile and unpredictable war is. Once something begins, it is unlikely for it to be stable. All in all, the speaker detest war and is petrified from it. He ends the poem off with the famous saying, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” which means, “It is sweet and becoming to die for one’s country”. The speaker is completely against this idea as he explains how terrible and traumatizing it was for him that he has recurring nightmares from it. The speaker can get rid of the pain he is feeling as he thinks about all the times he had faced in the war. Once again, the title is ironic because one would believe that the poem would be something happy since it has the word “sweet” in it, but instead it is completely gruesome and negative. Also, the speaker is trying to convey that wars are not worth fighting when they produce a never ending war within oneself. It is so bad that the speaker and all soldiers forget the main reason for their fighting and instead only focus on the gruesome aspects of the war. This shows that the speaker believes that wars are terrible, traumatizing, and useless.