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Dulche Et Decourm Est By Wilfred Owen 8 March 1893 – 4 November 1918.

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1 Dulche Et Decourm Est By Wilfred Owen 8 March 1893 – 4 November 1918

2 Dulche Et Decourm Est By Wilfred Owen Learning Objectives As we study this poem you will learn: The story of the poem More about the terms, Imagery, alliteration & personification Invented words About the life of a soldier in WW1 The life of Wilfred Owen The meaning of the title

3 Dulche Et Decourm Est By Wilfred Owen Starter Write down whatever you know about World War 1 for example: When it happened? Where it happened? Who was involved? What form did the war take? How many men were killed?

4 Dulche Et Decourm Est By Wilfred Owen Starter Write down whatever you know about World War 1. War in Europe with Britain, France, USA (eventually) and allies fighting Germany. Most of the fighting in Belgium & France with the soldiers fighting from trenches often only a few meters apart. Huge death toll: 65 million men were mobilised to fight, 8.5mill were killed and 21 million were wounded. At the time it was known as ‘The Great War.’

5 Dulche Et Decourm Est By Wilfred Owen Mini Task 1 Write down what you think the title means.

6 Dulche Et Decourm Est By Wilfred Owen Mini Task 1 Write down what you think the title means. ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori', means 'it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country'. It is taken from an ode (poem) by the Roman poet Horace's which talks about the glories of dying for your country: He plunges through a tide of blood! What joy, for fatherland to die!

7 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 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. Dulche Et Decourm Est

8 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Story Of The Poem Mini Task 2 Write down what you think the ‘story of the poem’ is.

9 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Story Of The Poem 1 Mini Task 2 – Write down what you think the ‘story of the poem’ is. A group of soldiers during WW1 are on their way back from the trenches and fighting on the front line when a miss- directed gas shell lands behind them. The men frantically try to get their crude gas masks on but one man does not fit his quickly enough and inhales some of the poison gas. The gas starts to react with the fluid in his lungs and he starts to choke to death. The other soldiers know they can do nothing to save their comrade and even though he is in agony they place him on to a field casualty cart.

10 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Story Of The Poem 2 Mini Task 2 Write down what you think the ‘story of the poem’ is. The start of the poem seems to be written in the present and the graphic description of the men and this gas attack seems immediate and real. However the poem is set in the past and the poet is recalling events that continue to haunt his dreams. At the end of the poem the poet asks if we now agree with the ancient philosopher Horace who wrote “It is sweet and honourable to die for one’s country.”

11 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Structure Of The Poem Write down how you think the poem is structured or composed. Mention stanzas, rhyme and line length. Mini Task 3

12 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Structure Of The Poem Write down how you think the poem is structured or composed. The poem is composed of 3 Stanzas and uses alternate rhyming couplets with the exception of the last three lines. The first two stanzas have 8 lines. The final stanza has 11 lines. Mini Task 4 Why are the last three lines different? Mini Task 3

13 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Structure Of The Poem Mini Task 4 Why are the last three lines different? The change in structure and rhyme scheme draws attention to and puts an emphasis on the last two lines which carry the ironic message of the poem. Mini Task 5 1.What is the Key Feature of this poem? 2.From each stanza give one powerful or disturbing example of the key feature you identified.

14 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Structure Of The Poem Mini Task 5 1.What is the Key Feature of this poem? Imagery 2.From each stanza give one powerful or disturbing example of the key feature you identified. Almost the entire poem is imagery, so any line/image will do as long as you have selected one from each stanza. What I am interested in though is what you found powerful or disturbing.

15 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Mini Task 6 Describe the scene created by the imagery used in the opening line. Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 1

16 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Mini Task 6 The soldiers are ‘bent double’ from the weight of the kit and equipment they are carrying back from the front line trenches. Instead of the smart ‘Tommy's’ who had left England a few short months ago, the mud from living and fighting in the trenches had reduced them to looking like beggars. Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 1

17 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Mini Task 7 What does the term ‘Hags’ mean and why is it effective here? Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 2

18 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Note: The alliteration on ‘knock-kneed Mini Task 7 What does the term ‘Hags’ mean and why is it effective here? Hag: An old woman considered ugly or frightful. Trench warfare had also taken a physical toll as these fit young men had now been reduced to something like crippled old women - ‘hags’ as they dragged themselves, cursing, through the muddy battlefields of France to some well earned rest. Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 2

19 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Mini Task 8 Why has the poet used the words ‘haunting’ & ‘trudge’ ? Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 3

20 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Mini Task 8 Why has the poet used the words ‘haunting’ & ‘trudge’ ? The ‘flares’ are burning projectiles fired into the night sky to illuminate the battlefield or the no-man’s-land between the opposing trenches. They cast an unsteady, glaring light over the land which Owen describes as ‘haunting’. This helps establish it is night time and create atmosphere. Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 3

21 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Mini Task 8 Why has the poet used the words ‘haunting’ & ‘trudge’ ? The men are exhausted and instead of marching as soldiers would be expected to do they ‘trudge’ back from the front towards their rest station. Even the thought of getting away from the fighting for a few days is not enough to make them move with any sort of energy. Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 3

22 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 4 Mini Task 9 What is the key feature and point the poet is trying to make in these lines? Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

23 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 4 Mini Task 9 What is the key feature and point the poet is trying to make in these lines? Feet! Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

24 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 4 Mini Task 9 What is the key feature and point the poet is trying to make in these lines? The British Army boot was ill-suited to trench warfare as it was not at all waterproof. If the laces rotted the boot could easily get sucked off in the muddy trenches. Because the boots could not keep the soldiers feet dry, soldiers suffered from a condition known as ‘Trench Foot’. This is caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, unsanitary and cold conditions and the feet literally begin to rot away. No wonder Owen describes the men as ‘blood shod’ and ‘lame ’. Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

25 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 4 Mini Task 9 What is the key feature and point the poet is trying to make in these lines? In this part of the first stanza Owen really emphasises how tired the men were by saying they ‘marched asleep’ and were ‘drunk with fatigue’ to the point of being blinded. Note: The alliteration on ‘Men marched’. ‘Blood-shod’ is also a word Owen invented for this poem. It is a combination of slip shod - Slovenly in appearance, shabby or seedy; Bloodshot - Red and inflamed Shod - to wear shoes. Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

26 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 5 Mini Task 10 Why were the shells ‘disappointed’? Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

27 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 5 Mini Task 10 Why were the shells ‘disappointed’? They weren’t, they couldn’t be, they are lumps of metal full of gas! It is the gunners who are ‘disappointed’ as they had missed their intended target in the trenches and the shells had ‘dropped behind’ the front line to fall among this group of retreating soldiers. So this is an example of personification So tired were the men that they did not hear the gas shell that fell behind them. Unlike normal shells they did not explode on impact, but hissed (hooted) as the gas was released. Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of disappointed shells that dropped behind. Note: The personification on ‘disappointed’.

28 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 6 Mini Task 11 What happens to pace and tone in the opening words of Stanza 2? Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

29 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 6 Mini Task 11 What happens to pace and tone in the opening words of Stanza 2? After the slow and even ‘weary’ pace of the opening stanza there is a sudden dramatic change here to a rapid pace with the repetition of ‘Gas’ and the urgency required to fit the gas masks ‘just in time’. The word ‘ecstasy’ is used ironically here. Being in an ecstatic state is something we normally associate with pleasure, not with a terrifying life or death situation. The joy comes once the mask is safely fitted. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; Note: The personification on clumsy ~ it’s the men that are clumsy in their panic, not the gas masks and alliteration/ enjambment on ‘fumbling, fitting’.

30 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 7 Mini Task 12 Describe the events of these two lines in your own words. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...

31 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 7 Mini Task 12 Describe the events of these two lines in your own words. One man did not get his mask on in time and he is left ‘floundering’ ie. thrashing around in agony as if he were on fire or drowning in a poisoned pool. FYI: Lime was a chemical that used to be spread on graves as it aids decomposition. It is an extremely alkaline substance. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...

32 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 8 Mini Task 12 1.What are the ‘misty panes’? 2.What is the principal imagery in these two lines? 3.Why is this use of imagery appropriate? 4.What happens to pace/tone here? Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

33 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 8 Mini Task 12 1.What are the ‘misty panes’? 2.What is the principal imagery in these two lines? 3.Why is this use of imagery appropriate? 4.What happens to pace/tone here? 1. The ‘misty panes are the glass circles in the mask which have become opaque with condensation. 2. Green, which is from the colour of the glass or the gas or both, but it creates an eerie feel to this section. 3. The green light leads to the green sea metaphor and then on to the graphic image of the soldier choking on the gas, as if he was drowning. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

34 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 8 Mini Task 12 4.What happens to pace/tone here? The change in pace/tone here is from the frantic energy of the previous few lines to a slower pace and more sombre and reflective tone. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

35 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 9 Mini Task 13 1.What happens to the time frame of the poem here? 2.Why does the poet do this? Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

36 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 9 Mini Task 13 1.What happens to the time frame of the poem here? 2.Why does the poet do this? 1.The time now moves to the ‘present’ so the events described in the poem are all set in the poet’s recent past. 2.Wilfred Owen then allows you to see the reality of his own war experience through his eyes. The vivid description of the soldier plunging at him (sea metaphor again) conveys the helpless horror he felt here. Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

37 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 9 Note: another ‘new’ word ~ ‘guttering.’ The word means a trough for taking water away from a roof or a flame on the point of going out. In the poem Owen seems to want it to also indicate the spluttering or gurgling sound the dying man is probably making. FYI: The horrors that Owen witnessed did cause him to have recurring nightmares which he needed help for when he was in hospital in England. It was while he was in hospital that he started writing his first war poems as a form of ‘therapy.’ Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime... Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

38 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 10 Mini Task 14 1.What is the key word in this couplet? 2.Why is it important or effective? 3.What do these lines tell us about the poet? If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

39 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 10 Mini Task 14 1.What is the key word in this couplet? 2.Why is it important or effective? 3.What do these lines tell us about the poet? 1.Flung. 2.The wounded soldier, who is not dead, but soon will be, is ‘flung’ into the back of a medical wagon with little dignity, care or concern because the soldiers know there is nothing they can do for him. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

40 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 10 Mini Task 14 1.What is the key word in this couplet? 2.Why is it important or effective? 3.What do these lines tell us about the poet? 3.The use of the word ‘dreams’ again references the nightmares that Owen suffered from as a result of his war experiences. and as before he provides some very graphic imagery to illustrate the cause of his distress. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

41 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 11 Mini Task 15 List the effect Owen suggests the gas has had on the soldier. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

42 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 11 Mini Task 15 List the effect Owen suggests the gas has had on the soldiers. terrified eyes - he knows he is going to die. face ‘writhing’ in agony. a face ‘hanging’ as he loses muscular control. blood foaming from his lungs as they are eaten away by the hydrochloric acid the gas has turned into upon contact with moisture. and then finally the blistering of the soldiers skin from acid burns. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,

43 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 12 Mini Task 16 What does Owen try to do in the last three lines of the poem? If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 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.

44 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 12 Mini Task 16 What does Owen try to do in the last three lines of the poem? 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 now directly address you, his reader, expecting a sympathetic response to his point of view as he calls you his ‘friend’; and he asks you to question any patriotic prejudices you might have by asking if you agree with Horace, the ancient Greek philosopher, that “It is sweet and honourable to die for your country.” He attacks the patriotism that drew so many young men to their deaths in the trenches by inferring that it is only ‘children’ who would respond with such naïve enthusiasm to this desperate call to fight for ‘glory.’

45 Dulche Et Decourm Est - The Meaning Of The Poem 12 Mini Task 16 What does Owen try to do in the last three lines of the poem? 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. He calls the patriotic attitude summed up in Horace’s quote a lie. In the poem he presents his version of the truth about the horrors war and shows there is nothing sweet honourable or noble in a death such as this soldier suffered.

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53 WW1Total Killed - 8,281,250 The brief life of Wilfred Owen.

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55 WW1Total Killed - 8,281,250 Assignment: How effectively does Wilfred Owen use imagery and other poetic devices to make Dulche Et Decorum Est a haunting and effective portrayal of war? words by 25 Sept.


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