Dulce Et Decorum Est is a poem written by Wilfred Owen set during world war 1 written in 1917, and talks about the trials and hardships that soldiers went through. The persona tells of how he and his battalion are attacked with mustard gas and one of the soldiers not putting his gas mask on in time, suffers from the effects of it. Wilfred Owen aims the poem at the government of the time criticising their decisions and for perpetuating the attitude that it is heroic to fight as a soldier in war and honourable to die for the cause. Owen uses poetic devices such as the imagery of the soldiers face as he dies, similes that contrast the stereotypical image of a soldier and irony to directly attack the common war cries and attitudes used to recruit young men into the army during World War One and ultimately positions its reader to respond negatively to the issue of war.
Dulce Et Decorum Est uses the poetic devices of similes and metaphors to contrast the stereotypical image of a soldier in a negative attitude. Owens use of these devices positions the reader to question the stereotype of these soldiers and to negatively respond to the issue of war: "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks/ Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through the sludge/men marched asleep,/all went lame; all blind;/ drunk with fatigue". The simile of contrasting the young strong, heroic, healthy men to old beggars alters the readers stereotypical idea of these soldiers who are fighting for their country and their survival. This description of beggars: "coughing like hags" encourages disgust and revulsion towards the soldiers and forcing the reader to see the transformation of the soldiers as a result of war putting it in a negative light. Owen aims the poem at an older audience and the government that were punishing these men to go to war when they didn't know the circumstances; physical and emotional effects that war had on these soldiers.