4 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2017
    1. In all my dreams before my helpless sight He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

      It is interesting that the speaker gives us a graphic image of the sound of death using the language "guttering," "choking," and "drowning," yet it is in contrast to a dream-like state. This creates slight confusion as to whether we are now in the speaker's dream or his reality. This could be a futile attempt in showing how easy it is to have the lines of reality and fantasy cross; making the soldier a prisoner to war and "The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori."

    2. The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

      We come back to this Latin phrase, “Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori” yet again. After being exposed to the imagery of the cruelties produced by chemical warfare, the soldiers are forever altered like the state of being “drunk” or in "An ecstasy" with now having to constantly live in the aftermath of war. The allusion of this phrase creates a shattering of one owns belief and alters the idea of what it means to be patriotic; just as the gas alters the mental capacity of the individual fighting for their country.

      To quote W.B. Yeats), a poet during the 1920's post-war Europe, "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;" Our perception of war is forever changed through the lens and perspective of those used as human sacrifice.

    3. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling

      WWI marked the introduction of chemical warfare which in return created complete terror and pandemonium; soldiers were not prepared for the effects of chemical warfare. As Jones indicates, the use of chemical warfare was to “terrorize the enemy and make their troops temporarily lose their minds.” Alexander Watson also claimed in his study (as cited in Jones, 2014) “gas created uncertainty: unlike shrapnel, it killed from the inside, eroding a soldier’s sense of control, while raising the terrifying fear of being suffocated." Going off the “created uncertainty” we have the use of "ecstasy" which encompasses a trance-like state; coinciding with the idea of being "drunk with fatigue" (see above annotation) from the effects of the gas. The delayed reactions of the soldiers against the gas would result in a behavior of "fumbling." The gas was designed to attack the nervous system; accelerating the deterioration of the body and mind.

    4. like old beggars

      With the introduction and evolution of chemical weapons used in this war (WWI); human bodies were no match for the damage these weapons were designed to inflict. Leading into the imagery of soldiers physically deteriorating when using phrases such as "bent double," "coughing like hags," and "men marched asleep;" would not lead one to believe that war is “sweet and fitting” in any capacity. With the use of the word “beggars” our minds may envision the effects of poverty and desperation which war seems to produce, and in this sense, we are given language expressing the overwhelming misery and accelerated age progression with the use of “old.” These descriptions challenge the assumptions the mind tends to gravitate towards when picturing what it means to "die for ones country."