The next paragraph is a further add-on, where it again haunts the reader where in Owens’s “helpless sight”, and these men “plunges” towards him, “guttering, choking, drowning.” These men plunge (again a reference to the imagery of drowning) and are suffering so badly as in the neat use of three quick words that all end with an -ing, also another alliteration, just heightens this horror of the gas attack to an almost unbearable pitch.
The last paragraph again carries this details of the gas attack, as an extended metaphor, where we are exposed to even more gory details of this attack, its aftermath, its sheer ferocity, again leaving deep impacts on the reader. Owen likens this experience to a dream where in some “smothering dreams” the reader too could envision the “wagon that we flung him in”. The use of the word smothering shows how he feels the men were feeling, like their life is slowly being drained out of them.Order now
Where their “hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin”, again another alliteration, this time using an “s” sound to just emphasize the moment. The moment where the soldier looks like hell on earth. Where we cannot even imagine “every jolt, the blood” that comes “Gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.” Where they are “Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud.” This description uses short sharp phrases to show the quick pace of this scene, where a man lies dying, where he is choking, comparable to cancer and like the bitter cud that cows chew when they digest their food.
It is like to “vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,” when somebody that is telling with “high zest” to some child desperate for some sort of “glory”. Owen here clearly is horrified at the notion of some people treating this war lightly, even with zest, to some poor innocent child wanting some glory in his life. And this ends off with the now terrible line. “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.” The capitalization of the world Lie now also shows how Owen personifies this phrase, as something human, some evil to the point where it is not just words, it is sheer tenacity and wrath that he believes no one should ever have to face. And that is the message that Owen is trying to put forth today.
In my personal response, I find it interesting to note that this poem is written in response to the pro-war poet Jessie Pope, where she uses the phrase “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori” as a title for one of her poems. This could explain why this poem is particularly harsh and upsetting for the reader, as it seems that Owen is trying to make a point that this is a resounding “Lie”. I liken his descriptions to that of the age-old belief that when one is faced with a horrific scene, time seems to slow down, even stop.
To me, these vivid descriptions are seething with bitter hate and I can literally feel the horror of the war flashing before my eyes, these unsettling images are horrific and probably would haunt anyone who reads this poem carefully. People screaming, people shouting, people flailing about, it seems to be definitely in the realm of possibility in war, and I am hope that I would never have to go through something as terrible as war. In conclusion, Owen makes a very strong stand and point against the war as a whole, and believes that it is a lie to call this war something glorious and honorable to die for, and this phrase “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori” is a big Lie.