Analysis Of The Man He Killed By Thomas Hardy

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WAR POETRY

“War doesn’t determine who is right, it determines who is left”. These are the words of the Welsh intellectual Bertrand Russel. It is approximated 123 million people fell victim to death during the wars in 20th Century. Firstly, what is war? The Oxford Dictionary has two definitions of war, the first definition refers to war as “A state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country”. The other definition refers to war as “A state of competition or hostility between different people or groups”. The two definitions share a mutual notion that resistance is the underlying root of war. The consequence of an emotional response to the resistance of different perspectives on appearance, politics, religion,
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The Poem is structured as a monologue. The poem aims to emphatically convey the insanities of war, to the ‘out of work’ British men who were forced to go to war ‘off hand like’ to afford the expenses of living. The author abstains from the use of metaphors and similes. However, the unambiguous tone boasting evocative language, which kindles emotions of revulsion with words like ‘dead’ ‘shot’ ‘foe’ and ‘killed’. Hence, distinct imagery is articulated throughout the poem. The speaker depicts the image of the being ‘face to face’ in ‘ranged infantry’, with ‘The man he killed’. The image of the two ‘staring face to face’ prior to when he ‘killed him in his place’ prompts the audience to understand the vile mentality soldiers are forced adopt in times of war. The implementation of repetition in the third stanza elicits the speaker’s inability to justify his ‘quaint and curious’ actions towards ‘The man he killed’. The repetition of the word ‘because’ and ‘foe’ highlights the speaker’s inability to coherently justify his actions, with exception of his inadequate indoctrinated belief the man was his ‘foe’, although it is revealed the two have never met. The speaker ironically suggests ‘had he’ and the man ‘but met By some ancient’ in they would have ‘sat down’ to a ‘wet nipperkin’. Thus, the repetition allows the reader to understand the insanity of war, in association with the ignorant disregard to humanity in times of

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