Dulce Et Decorum Est ( It is sweet and glorious to die for your country)
Was the war really as glorious as it was made out to be? Slogans like "Your Country Needs You" showing Lord Kitchener, pointing gallantly from a poster, and "The army is not all work" where glorious young men are pictured playing a sport, indicate that it was.
In "Dulce Et Decorum Est," Wilfred Owen describes the reality of war and paints a picture that is neither glorious nor honorable. The poem is an excellent example of protest poetry. It is a raw, emotional depiction of the opposite of glorious gallantry.
"Dulce Et Decorum Est" is Latin and comes from the poet Horace, it means "it is sweet and glorious", in titling the poem this way and then personifying the harsh reality of the war with line after line of misery, Owen is clearly challenging society's beliefs and protesting about "the old lie", told with such enthusiasm and "high zest". Here he is pointedly protesting against Jessie Pope (and others like her) a civilian and poet who encouraged young men to join the army effort.
Owen uses simile in the first stanza to help us understand what soldiers look like "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags we cursed through sludge", this stark description of the men walking away from the trenches "Towards our distant rest began to trudge" is juxtaposed against the propaganda posters where the soldiers are depicted as fresh-faced, lean limbed, attractive young men. There is nothing attractive about these men, in fact, Owen compares them to animals as "blood-shod", "lame"...