The tone is very harsh and he speaks very direct. He uses words that will shock you and leave you with a sick feeling. In the first stanza, the first two lines of the poem are, “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks/Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge”. This represents the men bent over carrying their belongings through the mud. They are being compared to as old beggars & hags, (miserable ugly old women). However, these men were young. In the third and forth lines, “Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs/And towards our distant rest began to trudge”, represents the tired soldiers heading back to camp.
In the fifth and six lines, “Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots/But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;” this shows how tired the men were as if they were marching in their sleep. Many have lost their boots and their feet are bleeding. In the seventh and eighth line, “Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots/Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. ” This shows that the soldiers are so tired and can’t get away from the explosives that are falling behind them. In the second stanza, the first two lines of the poem are, “Gas!
GAS! Quick boys! -An ecstasy of fumbling,/Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;. ” These lines reveal that their enemies have released toxic gas into the air to try to kill them. All the soldiers were struggling to get on their gas masks as quickly as they could. The third and fourth lines of the poem are, “But someone was still yelling out and stumbling/And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime …” These lines describe a soldier who was stumbling all over the place due to the toxic gas. This man didn’t get his gas mask on in time. The fifth and sixth ines of the poem is, “Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,/As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. ” These lines give you a mental image of the toxic gas. Another soldier is witnessing this man slowly dying. In the third stanza, the first two lines are, “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,/He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. ” These lines show how this man is haunted by the sights he witnessed of his fellow soldier dying from the toxic gas. The third and fourth lines of the poem are, “If in some smothering dreams you too could pace/Behind the wagon that we flung him in,. In these lines, the speaker wants you to be able to witness and see what he actually saw during this war. He wants you to be able to picture it in your mind. Soldiers didn’t have time to mourn or care where to dispose of the dead bodies. The fifth and sixth lines of the poem are, “And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,/His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;. ” These lines describe soldiers dying. Their eyes are rolling back in their heads and they are questioning everything that they’ve ever been told about dying for your country.
The metaphor “like a devil sick of sin” implies how horrible everything was and the terrible sights that they’ve witnessed. A devil is never sick of sin. The next four lines of the poem are, “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,. ” These lines give you a mental image of how disgusting the effects of the gas have on your body after it kills you. Your body breaks out in sores like cancer moving at an extremely fast rate.
This was really a horrible way to die. The last three lines in the poem are, “My friend, you would not tell with such high zest/To children ardent for some desperate glory,/The old lie: Dulce et decorum est. ” These lines are saying that you wouldn’t tell your child with enthusiasm what really goes on during the war. It isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be. It takes a lot of mental and physical strength to be in the army. “The old lie: Dulce et decorum est” means “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. ”