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Horror of War in Dulce et Decorum Est

Horror of War in Dulce et Decorum Est

Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” is a magnificent, and terrible, description of a gas attack suffered by a group of soldiers in World War 1. One of this group is unable to get on his helmet, and suffers horribly. Through his shifting rhythms, dramatic description, and rich, raw images, Owen seeks to convince us that the horror of war far outweighs the patriotic cliches of those who glamorize war.

In the first of four stanzas, Owen presents the death-like calm before the storm of the gas attack. Alliteration and onomatopoeia join with powerful figurative and literal images of war to produce a pitiful sense of despair. “Bent beggars”, “knock-kneed”, cough and “curse” like “hags” through “sludge.” All of this compressed into just two lines! The third line places the speaker of the poem with this trudging group. In the simple “Men marched asleep” sentence, the three beats imitate the falling rhythm of these exhausted men. The pun “blood-shod” makes its grim effect on us slowly. We guess, too, that “blind” and “lame” suggest several levels of debilitation. The stanza ends with the ironic-quiet sounds of the “shells” dropping “softly behind.”

In contrast to the first stanza, the second stanza is full of action. The oxymoron,”ecstasy of fumbling”, seems at first odd, but then perfect, as a way to describe the controlled panic -instantly awakened with heightened sensibility- of men with just seconds to find a gas mask. “But…” tells all. One man is too late and is seen only through the “green sea” of mustard gas, “yelling… stumbling…drowning…guttering…choking.”

The third stanza’s brief two lines emphasize the nightmare these events continue to be for our speaker.

In the last stanza, Owen becomes more insistent as he drives atus with the steady rhythmic beat of iambic pentameter. We feel the “jolt” of the wagon, see the “white eyes writhing” in this “hanging face,” and, most horribly, hear the “gargling “of the blood choked lungs. The amazing sound-filled simile, “like a devil’s sick of sin,” testifies, along with all the rest, to the overwhelming truth of this experience. It is not “if” we could see the horror of this scene.

Essay on Punishment and the Prodigal Son of The Holy Bible

Punishment and the Prodigal Son

In American Society today, there exists a feeling that those who have transgressed, whether against individuals, family members, or society at large, need to be held responsible for their actions. The more severe the transgression, the more severe the punishment. It is not unheard of in these times, for example, that a parent may let his or her child spend a few nights in jail in order to “teach them a lesson”. Even if the child seems to understand the severity of his or her actions, and shows regret for these actions, punishment may still be dealt out in the name of “tough love”. In The Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus seems to suggest that punishment is unnecessary for those who have redeemed themselves.

The two sons in this story represent several easily recognizable character traits still found in people to this day. The older son is a hard working, responsible, obedient man who expects that someday his discipline and sacrifice will pay off. Although not specifically mentioned in this short parable, it can be assumed that his share of his father’s…

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…f they show regret. A problem with the father’s solution to his wayward son, however, is that it may encourage this very type of behavior to continue in others who decide there is no consequence to their actions, as long as they repent, or pretend to repent, in the end. In this parable, it is easy to see that the prodigal son has been redeemed, and deserves compassion from his father. However, judging the salvation of an actual person is never as simple.

Works Cited

“The Parable of the Prodigal Son”. Bible, King James Version. Luke 15:11-32.

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