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Explication Of The Man He Killed

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Category: English

Autor: anton 14 May 2011

Words: 537 | Pages: 3

Explication of “The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy

1. “Had he and I but met

2. By some old ancient inn,

3. We should have sat us down to wet

4. Right many a nipperkin!

5. “But ranged as infantry,

6. And staring face to face,

7. I shot at him as he at me.

8. And killed him in his place.

9. “I shot him dead because-

10. Because he was my foe.

Throughout the poem it is easy to tell that the flow of this poem is non-traditional, for example, Hardy expresses hesitation in lines one and two of the third stanza. The form of the poem is five quatrains written in iambic trimeter with an end rhyme scheme of: (a,b,a,b,c,d,c,d,e,f,) “met”—a, “inn”—b, “wet”—a, “nipperkin!”—b, “infantry”—c, “face”—d, “me”—c, “place”—d, “because”—e, “foe”—f.

Hardy makes use of alliteration in lines nine and ten by repeating the word “because.” He does this to show hesitation in his answer to the question why he shot him.

The author does not mention any symbolism in this poem. However, he does mention one simile, only in the second stanza by using, “I shot at him as he at me.” The tone Hardy uses in the poem might include, hesitant, remorseful, or even detached. The setting might have taken place on a battlefield or in a war zone. The situation of the poem is Hardy contemplating on the irony presented by war.

When reading this poem a person might be confused about who the speaker is, because throughout the poem, Hardy speaks in first person such as, “Had he and I but met.” However if a person considers the title, he or she might notice that it is written in third person. The author leaves it to the reader’s imagination as to who the actual speaker or teller of the story is.

Thomas Hardy uses vague and gloomy imagery throughout the poem. He uses vague imagery in the second stanza, “And staring face to face, I shot at him as he at me. And killed him in his place.” by not describing a clear image of the setting, emotions, or even the weapon used between the two.

The first stanza in the poem paints a gloomy picture of the speakers’ mood by using, “Had he and I but met, By some old ancient inn, We should have sat us down to wet” which would be remorseful in the fact they could have been friends in a different situation.

With the speakers’ narrative monologue, his rhyme scheme, and the structure of the third stanza, he builds the theme of the poem which would be gloomy and regretful.

In the last stanza the speaker describes war as being quaint, by saying “Yes; quaint and curious war is!” which the reader might interpret as odd, considering the irony of the situation that the speaker might have been friends with the man he killed in a different setting.

The meaning of the poem is a moral or a lesson. The writers’ intention is to convey that sometimes people are put in situations where they are forced to do something they normally wouldn’t do, or wouldn’t want to do. Along with this, the speaker expresses the regrets of the actions people sometimes have to take no matter the situation

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