The Man He Killed by Thomas Hardy: Analysis GCSE English Literature Bolton Tuition

“Had he and I but met             By some old ancient inn, We should have sat us down to wet             Right many a nipperkin!             “But ranged as infantry,             And staring face to face, I shot at him as he at me,             And killed him in his place.             “I shot him dead because —             Because he was my foe, Just so: my foe of course he was;             That’s clear enough; although             “He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,             Off-hand like — just as I — Was out of work — had sold his traps —             No other reason why.             “Yes; quaint and curious war is!             You shoot a fellow down You’d treat if met where any bar is,             Or help to half-a-crown.” The Title of the poem. The title of the poem reveals the irony of the poem’s message. This is because the title uses the third person pronoun ‘he’ in order to deflect attention away from the actual author of the anonymous man’s death- namely the first person ‘I’ speaker of the poem. The narrator’s displacement is suggestive of guilt. The speaker is attempting to hide from his conscience through the veiling effects of syntax. War commits soldiers to killing the ‘foe’ yet does not prepare them for the burden of guilt; for the mental horror of taking a life.  Ironically, the title avoids any direct admission of responsibility, unlike the main bod
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