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The Parable of the Old Man and the Young Analysis



Author: Poetry of Wilfred Owen Type: Poetry Views: 441

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So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,

And took the fire with him, and a knife.

And as they sojourned both of them together,

Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,

Behold the preparations, fire and iron,

But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?

Then Abram bound the youth with belts and strops,

And builded parapets and trenches there,

And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.

When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,

Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,

Neither do anything to him. Behold,

A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;

Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.



But the old man would not so, but slew his son,

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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| Posted on 2013-05-20 | by a guest


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This poem compares the ascent of Abraham to Mount Moriah and his near sacrifice of his son Isaac with the start of WWI. allusion to the biblical story found in genesis 22 1:18. a parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. In the poem Abram represents the governments of the European nations or perhaps Germany or Kaiser Wilhelm II who some claim started the war. However Owen does not usually attribute blame to individuals. He condemns all those who were warmongerers. According to the poem the rulers of Europe believed that sacrificing their nation\'s pride was too high a price to pay. the irony is that the real coast of this pride was the death of millions of young men - seed of Europe.
the last two lines are the only ones which rhyme, they create a cold chilling image - an old man killing the youth of Europe which gives the poem a haunting effect.

| Posted on 2012-05-15 | by a guest


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Abram is renamed Abraham by God in chapter 17 of Genesis. “Abraham” means father of many nations, however "Abram" means exalted father. Owen uses the name “Abram” to imply that the fathers and leaders of the world elevated themselves to such a level that their pride would not let them prevent bloodshed. Hence not killing “the Ram of Pride” line 14-15.
Isaac is named once in line 4 but remains anonyms for the rest of the poem to represent all the soldiers that died. The angel uses "lad" which has endearing tone so we feel more horrified when Abram does kill him.

| Posted on 2008-11-12 | by a guest


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This clearly has Owen contrast war with religion...
Owen uses the story of Abraham who was asked to sacrifice his son by God, but just as Abraham was about to kill his son an angel came down and stopped him. Whereas in the poem Abraham doesn't listen and kills not only one boy but thousands: 'half the seed of Europe, one by one.'The seed being the young boys.
The title: 'Parable of the Old Man and the Young' refers to the government 'old man' and the thousands of innocent boys 'young' who seek glory. This is one of Owen's pieces that doesn't excentuate all the blood, guts and murder attributed with war unlike much of his other work.

| Posted on 2008-05-30 | by a guest




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