Through close examination of “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and “Exposure”, explain how Wilfred Owen used poetic techniques and language to portrait the Front Line. Introduction: Through the two anti-war poems, “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and “Exposure”, Wilfred Owen depicted a terrible picture, which describes the horrid living condition at the Front Line, by using a lot of poetic techniques. These two poems vary from the propaganda poems in terms of describing what war is really like. They do not describe war as being fun and exciting, but as being boring and dreadful instead. In this essay, I will talk about some poetic techniques and language that Owen used to describe life in the Front Line and the effects that they have on the readers.Order now
1st poetic technique in “Exposure”: In the poem “Exposure”, Wilfred Owen has used personification to describe the cold wind through the line: “Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east wind that knifes us…” This suggests that besides the Huns, the British soldiers also had to cope with nature. The winds, which make leaves rustle, could make them confused because they did not know whether the sounds came from the enemy approaching or it was really the wind.
This makes the soldiers worry and feel uncertain and therefore, they will be physically and emotionally exhausted of incessantly having to watch out for the enemy. This is effective in conveying the message to the readers that nature was ironically also a problem to the soldiers because it implies that the wind, which is sometimes expected to help the soldiers dry their sweat and cool them down, could cause much trouble to the soldiers, making them worry.
Furthermore, the word merciless has the connotation of the wind being personified as a heartless and tyrannous villain who kills anyone without any sound considerations. This shows that the wind just weakened and killed anyone on its way, no matter who it is. Therefore, it makes the readers feel pity for what the soldiers have to endure – the wind, which is invisible to the soldiers and can be more dangerous than the real enemies. Also, the word iced might suggest two things. Firstly, it might suggest that the wind is cold and can cause physical harm to the soldiers. Secondly, it might suggest that the wind is cold-hearted, and does not consider once when it harms and kills them. This links back to the idea of the wind being merciless, which is stated above.
In addition, Owen has used another effective diction in this line, which is knifes. This word suggests that weather is like a deadly weapon which killed the soldiers, just like the enemy. It implies the readers feel that life in the trenches is very harsh as the soldiers have to confront with two types of enemies: the Germans and the nature – the wind, both of which have the ability the kill the soldiers. This is effective as an anti-war poem as it makes the readers reconsider whether life in the trenches is as easy as the propaganda poems said, or there is something besides the enemy which the soldiers have to tackle.
3rd poetic technique in “Exposure”: sikecy24: “For hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs; Shutters and doors all closed: on us the doors are closed – Wilfred Owen also uses metaphor to compare the condition of the soldiers to the mice’s condition. “For hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs; Shutters and doors all closed: on us the doors are closed – We turn back to our dying.”
However, the life for soldiers at the Front Line was so terrible that the condition of a small, smelly creature – mouse – was even better than the soldiers’. At night, the war stops and the mice can sleep happily. However, the soldiers cannot even sleep a second in happiness; they always had to ready for the fight as they cannot know when the fight will happen. The sentries had to swap times with each others and guard the trenches, so they always had to live in a condition of fear, nervous and terror.
4th poetic technique in “Exposure”: Wilfred Owen uses repetition to show that the soldiers rather wanted to die and the war than sit still in worry about the sudden attack of the enemies. The line in the poem that shows this is: “But nothing happens” When we read other propaganda poems, they all say that the soldiers come to the Front Line to fight; therefore, we will be surprised when Owen said that nothing happens. “Nothing happens” in this poem is not saying that the war is over, but the war is happening and the silence can break anytime. Therefore, the soldiers were not waiting in peace, but in nervous and in terror. For them, the war is happening even second in their life.