"Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen, a lyric poem upon understanding, focuses on the absolute horror experienced during World War I. Throughout the transition of this poem, Owen worked his way from control to confusion in order to convey his messages to the readers.
In terms of rhyme scheme, this poem has a definite pattern of abab, cdcd, efef, and so on. However, instead of the poem being divided into four line quatrains, Owen establishes by connecting quatrains of similar patterns of abab together into the first two eight-lined stanzas. Owen also uses a common and modern diction in this poem. Although, he is telling the story, it is rather informal; such as he uses words like "flound'ring" on line 12 and "fumbling" on line 9. .
In the first stanza, Owen opens up by giving phrases such as "like old beggars under sacks", "men marched asleep", and "drunk with fatigue", which strongly provides the readers with vivid pictures of soldiers pushing forward in slow and controlled pace despite of deplorable conditions they are in. .
Entering the second stanza, the rhythm seems to break out from that of the first stanza. The poet gives the readers a sense of extreme urgency by stating: "Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling," on line one of the second stanza. The word "fumbling" is suggesting that due to the soldiers' physical conditions, their actions in putting the masks on tend to be much slower than before upon interacting with their mind. However, "ecstasy" depicts with a twist of irony as it is depicting a completely bewildering time for the soldiers. .
As readers advance further, the caesuras between lines thirteen and sixteen of the end of second stanza serves to enter another type of rhythm, evoking a sense of the bewilderment of the battle, and this is where the transition takes place. "As under a green sea I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning" which describes the suffering horror of the soldiers from gas attack.