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The Man He Killed Analysis



Author: Poetry of Thomas Hardy Type: Poetry Views: 3716





Had he and I but met

By some old ancient inn,

We should have set 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.





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

.: :.

The title includes 2 persona in the poem with a slightly different emphasis from what the reader might expect. Explain.
Help! I\'m not understanding this question. :(

| Posted on 2012-12-09 | by a guest


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Any body knows what is the differences between right and wrong, peace or fight, but in the war nothing is except die !
mohammad nasser rahimi

| Posted on 2012-11-04 | by a guest


.: :.

iT was written durin The boer war however it is about all wars in general.

| Posted on 2012-10-20 | by a guest


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can u explain the title for me? why did he use third person but in the poem he uses first person.

| Posted on 2012-10-07 | by a guest


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this poem shows that life isnt easy and to get through life you have to take risk and sacrifises even if it means losing a loved one life isnt fair it hasnt been it never will be

| Posted on 2012-09-23 | by a guest


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Is there any metaphors or personification in the poem?
Imagery?
Is there any words that have an important or hidden meaning? (words that you can link to an emotion or feeling etc.)
Is the poem showing war to be a positive thing?
Is there any onomatopoeia and alliteration used?

| Posted on 2012-08-05 | by a guest


.: :.

(about war)
I think war is not cool cause you kill people and only for resources
And what if there\'s 1pie and theres 20 people and there\'s only 1 piece think of that so I think WAR IS BAD
Hope you liked my review

| Posted on 2012-05-24 | by a guest


.: :.

Here is a line by line analysis of what I felt like the poem meant:
Had that man and I met under different circumstances at an old bar/pub, we would have sat down and had us a couple of drinks.
But because of the war/army we were in, and standing there looking at each other during the fighting, we shot at each other and I killed him right where he was.
I shot and killed him because he was my enemy. The enemy on the other side I am supposed to kill.
He thought he’d enlist in the army perhaps because---just as I---was out of work, had sold all his belongings, and no reason why.
Yes, unusually old-fashioned and mysterious war is! You shoot a stranger down, who you would have otherwise treated a drink to at a bar or lent money.
Hope this helped(:

| Posted on 2012-03-21 | by a guest


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This poem really speaks to me, it really shows the heartache and sacrifices our soldiers must deal with. Such as killing a man an wondering maybe you could've been friends if they met at a bar or hotel.

| Posted on 2012-03-15 | by a guest


.: :.

The man he killed
In this essay I am going to be writing about a poem named “The man he killed” written by Thomas Hardy, during the Boer War in 1902. The poem is about a man in battle, he guy had to make a decision and pull the trigger, a life an death situation, he then regrets killing him, because if they were not enemies he thinks they would have been friends. This poem shows us how futile war is.
The structure of the poem is set out as a nursery rhyme so the first thing you expect to read is a happy poem, but you get taken by surprise when you realise the poem is a very depressing poem, about war, because when you imagine war you become sad.
In the first stanza Hardy explains that they could have been friends if they met in a different atmosphere as he says “Had her and I but met by some old ancient inn” so this means if they did not meet in war, and there main object was to kill eachother they would have “have sat us down to wet, right many a nipperkin!” so they would had a drink together and had fun in a different atmosphere, he doesn’t feel happy about shooting him.
The image of war we are presented with in the second stanza is two men staring at each other, looking really angry and upset, then they both raise there guns and shoot at each other “I shot at him as he at me”, then I see one of the men not aiming at the other correctly, so he looses the battle.
In the third stanza, Hardly is struggling to find a reason as he said “because” twice which implies hesitation. However he eventually comes to the conclusion that he had to because it was his foe. Although he is still conscious that this reason is not good enough and does not excuse him for what he did. Hardy finds it difficult to find a justified reason for this killing.
In the fourth stanza, Hardy related himself to the man he killed “Off-hand like--just as I-- Was out of work--had sold his traps” because he wants to think he was just like him and didn’t really deserve to die.
In the last stanza Hardy says “yes quant and curious war is” so he doesn’t fully understand war. This line shows his bitterness and. It is ironic because in a war it is very frightening but he described it as soft and gentle. When he uses the words you and you’d means that if anyone was in his situation they would do the same thing and he is friendly towards the enemy by calling him “fellow”.

| Posted on 2012-02-23 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem really speaks to me, it really shows the heartache and sacrifices our soldiers must deal with. Such as killing a man an wondering maybe you could\'ve been friends if they met at a bar or hotel.
Thinking...maybe he joined for the same reason, maybe he has a family.

| Posted on 2012-02-14 | by a guest


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can you explain me this poem by stanza because i really need it..

| Posted on 2011-12-01 | by a guest


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Thank you so much :) ; the person that wrote at 2010-09-15 aka A.A ; you just saved me from getting 1 hour detention! ; your analysis helped me alot \'cause i was not focusing on my work when i did it in school ; it was very hard \'cause my head of year is my english teacher!!
;p

| Posted on 2011-05-05 | by a guest


.: :.

Thank you so much; the person that wrote at 2010-09-15; you just saved me from getting 1 hour detention! ; your analysis helped me alot \'cause i was not focusing on my work when i did it in school ; my head of year is my english teacher!! :)

| Posted on 2011-05-05 | by a guest


.: :.

Thank you so much; the person that wrote at 2010-09-15; you just saved me from getting 1 hour detention! ; your analysis helped me alot \'cause i was not focusing on my work when i did it in school ; my head of year is my english teacher!! :)

| Posted on 2011-05-05 | by a guest


.: :.

Thank you so much; the person that wrote at 2010-09-15; you just saved me from getting 1 hour detention! ; your analysis helped me alot \'cause i was not focusing on my work when i did it in school ; my head of year is my english teacher!! :)

| Posted on 2011-05-05 | by a guest


.: :.

can someone tell me why the poet had used the pronoun HE in the title and I in the first stanza ?
both of the pronouns refers to the soldier
i really wanna know .plz help

| Posted on 2011-05-02 | by a guest


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can some one explian me about this poem and can you gev me tha simlaritis about the hitcher or something i reali need to know

| Posted on 2011-01-12 | by a guest


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The poem The Man He Killed by Thomas Hardy was written during the Boer War.
STANZA 1-
It means that IF the soldier and his \"enemy\" had met at an inn or a bar, than they COULD have been friends and even shared a drink. The poet uses \'but\' and \'should\' as the fighting has already been done.
STANZA 2-
It means that the soldier and his enemy were both firing at each other and soldier manages to kill the enemy.
STANZA 3-
The soldier falters while trying to justify his actions. He says that he had to kill him as he was his \"enemy\". He is not convinces that he is his enemy as he was forced to kill him or he would have been killed.
STANZA 4-
The soldier wonder if his enemy had joined the army for the same reason, that is he was unemployed and joined the army for money.
STANZA 5-
The poet states that was is strange as a man is forced to kill another man, but if they had met somewhere else at a peaceful time, they could have been friends
-By A.A

| Posted on 2010-09-15 | by a guest


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the theme of the poem is, love for the other individuals."Love the neighbour as you love thyself"

| Posted on 2010-07-25 | by a guest


.: :.

The Man He Killed, was written in 1902 by Thomas Hardy. This poem describes the sadness of war and how it affects the soldiers. This poem was written from the point of view of a soldier who was expressing his feelings at how war made him kill this man. This poem is spoken in first person. “Had he and I but met by some old ancient inn, we should have set us down to wet right many a nipper kin!” here I think this paragraph explains how if the soldier telling the story had met the soldier he killed in some hotel or something they could have gone out and had a drink and become friends or something. “I shot him dead because, because he was my foe, just so my foe of course he was that's clear enough although.” To me this paragraph means that he had to shoot this man because he was staring him down in the face pointing his weapon at him. The language is very straightforward and easy to read and understand with exception of some few words. It uses and informal way to show it, so that might seen more just like the soldier who killed that man is talking on his own. The point of this poem is to prove that war has no point at all, no country wins in the end.

| Posted on 2010-06-07 | by a guest


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See I think Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Man He Killed” is about killing your enemies in war. At first I thought the poem was about WWI but then I realized he written this poem twelve years before. Then doing some research in this book I read that this poem was written because of the Boer War in South Africa. Also I think it describes the sadness of war and how it affects soldiers who are people with feelings. This poem was written from the point of view of a soldier who was expressing his feelings at how war made him kill this man. This poem is spoken in first person. Thomas Hardy would always get depressed during wars. And in this poem I see that he’s just expressing how stupid it is to be in a war. “Had he and I but met by some old ancient inn, we should have set us down to wet right many a nipperkin!” here I think this paragraph explains how if the soldier telling the story had met the soldier he killed in some hotel or something they could have gone out and had a drink and become friends or something. “But ranged as infantry, and staring face to face, I shot at him as he at me, and killed him in his place.” I think this paragraph explains how all of the soldiers are in combat with their guns firing at each other face to face. Then the soldier telling the story has to shoot the person staring at him. “I shot him dead because, because he was my foe, just so my foe of course he was that's clear enough although.” To me this paragraph means that he had to shoot this man because he was staring him down in the face pointing his weapon at him. “He thought he'd 'list, perhaps, Off-hand like just as I Was out of work had sold his traps No other reason why.” I think this paragraph means that this soldiers enemy just enlisted in the army just as he did and not expecting to get shot. He thought he’d sell all of his things and enlist just to make some money. “Yes quaint and curious war is! You shoot a fellow down you'd treat, if met where any bar is, 0r help to half a crown.” To me this paragraph means that war is kind of weird because your killing people just like yourself. And if you had met them in a bar you’d probably give them a bit of money to help them buy a drink.

| Posted on 2010-04-14 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem deals with the issue of how war is able to change the relationship between people. War can sever and dissolve friendship and there seems to be a thin line between friend and foe.
There seems to be a lack of respect for human life.It seems alright to kill because in War you are either friend or foe. It makes us wonder what happened to humanity? There is a lack of compassion over the death of a fellow human being. War is definately strange to me.
You kill when in other circumstances you could have been good drinking buddies, or even have shared to buy drinks. Also this poem sends out a message that during the war you have the licence to kill1

| Posted on 2010-03-23 | by a guest


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The poem reflects on war in general, but it is NOT about WW1 - it was written in 1902, 12 years before WW1! It is actually about the Boer War in South Africa.

| Posted on 2010-03-16 | by a guest


.: :.

In the poem Hardy shows that the man is regretful paragraph 4

| Posted on 2009-12-08 | by a guest


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I guess the speaker tried to keep his composure despite the harsh incident that had just happened. The sing-song rhyme scheme had done it.
-hanna,Philippines-

| Posted on 2009-09-23 | by a guest


.: :.

I guess the speaker tried to keep his composure despite the harsh incident that had just happened. The sign-song rhyme scheme had done it.
-hanna,Philippines-

| Posted on 2009-09-23 | by a guest


.: :.

Thomas Hardy is a poet born in England, who died at the age of 87 in Dorset. “The Man He Killed”, one of Thomas Hardy's famous poems, based in World War I, describes the horror of war and how it affected soldiers who were still human beings with feelings. It was written from the point of view of a soldier who was expressing his shock at what war required him to do. The poem is spoken in first person, using the soldier as the speaker. The speaker was trying to explain to himself why he killed this man who he could have been friends with if they were somewhere else, like in a bar. 

Thomas Hardy explained the stupidity of war by thinking about the things that were the same between the two men, who were enemies. Hardy thought about a friendship that could have existed between the two of them, if they had met somewhere else and not in war. It shows that a war is something horrible between different countries and religions instead of single men. He used a special way to describe the cruel of the war, in which he detailed displayed two common persons at that time, not criticizing the war straightly.
The tone was used to emphasize what he felt, which you can tell in this poem: anger, sadness, helplessness and commiseration. The poet used strong words to help you create an image in your head of how war affected their lives. Even though its language isn’t very complicated, it still contains some strong words to outstand the feeling that he wanted to emphasize. With each word in the right place, this poem can totally express what he wants to tell. 

The poem is written in a conversational tone, with speech marks included, making us feel that the soldier is telling us personally in an informal way, and debating with us to understand his action in killing his enemy. The tone in the five stanzas is mainly full of regret, also complaining about war. He criticized that war had changed people’s personalities, compelled them to harm each other for no reasons.

In the beginning it has the same tone as the last stanza, which says, “Yes; quaint and curious war is.” The poet is sighing about the destiny of the soldier and the man he killed and some other unfortunate people who cannot be seen in this poem. In the first stanza, the poet says if they had met the man he killed at an inn or a bar, he would gladly have shared a few drinks with that man he killed. The word “BUT” is a clue to the reader that this is an alternate situation: what could have happened, rather than what actually did, as does the word “HAD”, and “SHOULD”. Nipper kin could be a metaphor for having a drink.(nipper kin: a half empty vessel in this case probably used to contain alcohol) ‘Had he and I but met By some old ancient inn, We should have set us down to wet Right many a nipper kin!” But since they met at war and shot at each other and he ended killing the other man. This verse is the introduction to the poem. It sets the scene. The main event-the killing-has already taken place and the poet is reflecting on the event, which allows him to give the readers a sense of place before he begins-almost like a flash back.

In the second stanza, the whole line is very simple. It has a resigned tone about it, as if he only shot him because he was going to shoot him. The main action in the poem takes place here. This is the event that the whole poem is about and it is surprisingly simple. In this stanza, he kills a man, a stranger perhaps one of his enemies. He doesn’t say anything about how the man looked, whether he was tall or short, he just refers to him as he. In his death, the man is still a stranger to him. He doesn’t even give detail about his face and they were staring face to face.


In the third stanza, his tone feels sorrow and helpless. He tries to find a reason to justify the killing but fails to find one. He is telling the audience how he knows nothing about him, “I shot him dead because-- Because he was my foe, just so: my foe of course he was; that's clear enough; although.” He seems to falter here with two “because”. He hesitates, and repeats a word, for the first time indicating that he feels at least some need to try to justify it to himself. However he eventually comes to the conclusion that he had to because it was his foe. Although he is still conscious that this reason is not good enough and does not excuse him for what he did. That “although” at the end of the line of this stanza reverberates with his confusion. “Why was his victim a foe?” To this question he came up with no answer.
In the fourth stanza the poet is telling about that they both have the list of name of each other, similar to complete a mission of killing each other. “Was out of work—had sold his traps—No other reason why.” It means, it is the war that forces him and the man he killed to take this gunfight with no other choice.
The last stanza sums up the speaker's views on the whole thing that has happened:
 “Yes; strange and curious war is! You shoot a fellow down you’d treat, where any bar is, or help to half a crown.”

“Half a crown” is probably a small amount of money, and "traps" means belongings. “It comes back to the main point of the poem, that war is a strange phenomenon because a soldier finds himself forced to kill a man that he would otherwise have bought a drink for or lent money to if they had met in times of peace. 

This poem is a quatrain, which is balanced and each stanza is 4 lines, so it sounds regular. Its lines are neither too long nor too short, therefore it won’t sound its idea is well organized. Each stanza expresses a different idea, except the first and the last ones. In the first and last stanzas, it is mainly sighing about their destinies, while in the second one, it is telling what takes place in the story, what has happened before that man is killed. In the third stanza it is trying to make a reason about that he did not kill that man in purpose, he has no choice. Then it comes to tell how helpless the soldier felt after killing a man who he had never known in the forth stanza. They don’t want to join the war, but they were forced to do so. 

The language is very straightforward and easy to read and understand with exception of some few words. It uses an informal way to show it, so that might seem more just like the soldier who killed a man is talking on his own, which let people involve into the situation he is describing quickly. In stanza two, the language does not sound like his own; perhaps it is the soldier telling the story, it is fairly casual and is mostly quite conversational. There is some metaphors used in this poem, like nipper kin, infantry, quaint and curious. These metaphors are not specifically hard; they are just adjectives that we uses in our everyday life. 

The rhyme scheme and rhythm are regular and gives the poem quite a fast pace while reading it. As you can see there are 5 stanzas of 4 lines each and they have an ABAB CDCD EFEF… rhyme scheme, which does not contain any near rhyme or assonance. There are some words repeated in the end, because he has to rhyme the poem.
The mood in this poem is sometimes aggressive and sometimes full of indignant which changes people’s mood while reading this poem, so people can feel the feelings of the poet easily. In this poem, the sound is not really outstanding, in the beginning and the end, which is soft and full of felling of sympathetic. It changes in the second, third, fourth stanza, and becomes harsh. 


The first image that I came up with while reading this poem is a battle with dead bodies lying on the ground and there is still soldiers fighting. The sound of gun is everywhere. All in a sudden, a man was shot and killed. The words in this poem are created from words; it can give us a clearer idea of what it is saying about. Each word of this poem is connected, so it gives us a connected image all the way throu

| Posted on 2009-05-15 | by a guest


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he joined the army without thinking sold all his belongings and was un-employed and there could not have been another reason says the poet
'he thought he'd list perhaps
'off-hand like just like i'
was out of work had sold his traps no other reason why

| Posted on 2009-05-13 | by a guest


.: :.

Thomas Hardy is a poet born in England, who died at the age of 87 in Dorset.
“The Man He Killed”, one of Thomas Hardy's famous poems, based in World War I, described the horror of war and how it affected soldiers who were still human beings with feelings. It was written from the point of view of a soldier who was expressing his shock at what war required him to do.
The poem is spoken in first person, using the soldier as the speaker. The speaker was trying to explain to himself why he killed this man who he could have been friends with if they were somewhere else, like in a bar.
Thomas Hardy explained the stupidity of war by thinking about the things that were the same between the two men, who were enemies. Hardy thought about a friendship that could have existed between the two of them, if they had met somewhere else and not in war. It shows that war is not between single men, but instead of something horrible between different countries and religions. He used a special way of saying the cruel of the war, detailed displayed the people in his period’s thought. Using a killed man to outstand. Not criticizing the war straightly.
The tone was used to emphasize what he felt, which you can tell by its tone, anger, sadness, happiness and excitement in the poem. The poet used strong words to help you create an image in your head of how war affected their lives. Even though its language isn’t very complicated, it still contains some strong words to outstand the feeling that he wanted to emphasize. With each word in the right place, this poem can totally express what he wants to tell.
The poem is written in a conversational tone, with speech marks included, making us feel that the soldier is telling us personally in an informal way, and debating with us to understand his action in killing his enemy. The tone in this poem is mainly confused, also complaining about war. He criticized that war had changed people’s personalities, made them harm each other with no reasons.
In the beginning it has the same tone as the last stanza, which says, “Yes; quaint and curious war is.” The poet was sighing about the destiny of the soldier and the man he killed and other unfortunate people. In the first stanza, the poet said if they had met the man he killed at an inn or a bar, he would gladly have shared a few drinks with that man he killed. Nipper kin could be a metaphor for having a drink.” Had he and I but met By some old ancient inn, We should have set us down to wet Right many a nipper kin!” But since they met at war and shot at each other and he ended killing the other man.
In the second stanza, the tone is cold but miserable; it is talking about how that soldier shot that man down, and they were staring at each other. In the whole poem, it is the only stanza that describes how things go. In this stanza, the poet used detailed description of gun fighting. In the third stanza, his tone feels sorrow and helpless. He tried to find a reason to justify the killing but fails to find one. “I shot him dead because-- Because he was my foe, just so: my foe of course he was; that's clear enough; although.” This also tells us that he is struggling to find a reason as he said “because”, twice which implies hesitation. However he eventually comes to the conclusion that he had to because it was his foe. Although he is still conscious that this reason is not good enough and does not excuse him for what he did. That “although” dangling at the end of the line of this stanza reverberates with his confusion. “Why was his victim a foe?” To this question he came up with no answer. While the soldier killed that man, he cannot think about whether the solder has a family or whether or not he is a good man.
In the fourth stanza the poet is telling about that they both have the list of name of each other, similar to complete a mission-kill each other. “Was out of work—had sold his traps—No other reason why.” It means, the soldier and the man he killed both were been forced to go on a war, they have no choice,
The last stanza sums up the speaker's views on the whole incident:
“Yes; strange and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.”
half a crown is probably a small amount of money, and "traps" means belongings. “It comes back to the main point of the poem, that war is a strange phenomenon because a soldier finds himself forced to kill a man that he would otherwise have bought a drink for or lent money to, if they had they met in times of peace.
This poem is a quatrain, 4 line each stanza, the poem is balances, all of each stanza is 4 lines, and so it sounds regular. All of its line is not too long or too short, its idea is well organized, and each stanza expresses a different idea, except the first and the last stanza.
The language is very straightforward and easy to read and understand with exception of some few words. It uses and informal way to show it, so that might seen more just like the soldier who killed that man is talking on his own. In stanza two, the language does not sound like his own, perhaps it is the soldier talking.

| Posted on 2009-05-12 | by a guest


.: :.

The way it was written, seems to take the reader as the man he killed (as if you were sitting at the pub with th narrator).The poem isnt really saying "No to war!", but it's talking about the individual soldiers. They
do not hate eachother peronally, but due to their countries at war(and to support the family as stated) they enlisted.Thus to keep supporting they'er families, one dies the other lives."'He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like just as I -
Was out of work had sold his traps -
No other reason why." So, the poem is the indvidual's reflection of what he might of done in peace.

| Posted on 2009-04-30 | by a guest


.: :.

i think The opening of “the man he killed” shows us the attitude of the soldier which is dwelling on the past; “had he and I but met…we should have sat us down to wet” this shows us the soldier thinks about the common ground himself and the victim could have shared. The effect this has on the audience is that it is almost as if the soldier is trying to justify himself. Like he is writing a report.

| Posted on 2009-04-23 | by a guest


.: :.

there is hesitance in the poem;
"I shot him dead because ... because he was my foe"
the only reason he kills him is because thats his job...not because he hates the man.
this just goes to show that war is pointless

| Posted on 2009-04-13 | by a guest


.: :.

there is hesitance in the poem;
"I shot him dead because ... because he was my foe"
the only reason he kills him is because thats his job...not because he hates the man.
this just goes to show that war is pointless

| Posted on 2009-04-13 | by a guest


.: :.

Thomas Hardy explores the futility of war in his poem "The Man He Killed" by displaying the similarities between two men who called oneanother their 'foe.' Hardy illustrates a friendship that could have existed between the pair, had the turn of events been rearanged differently. The possiblity of companionship between opposing sides shows that war is not a conflict between individual men, but instead a horrific mess conjured up by politics, religion and other such disputes.

| Posted on 2009-04-02 | by a guest


.: :.

this poem is about two men being hired to kill eachother in a war. they say that if they were brought to this war any other way, there would be no quarrel because they would be on the same side.

| Posted on 2009-02-23 | by a guest


.: :.

Hardy’s character shows signs of regret and hesitance about “the man he killed”; He thought he’d list perhaps, off-hand like- just as I” and contemplates how the circumstances may have altered “had he and I but met, by some old ancient inn”. This has a general theme of sorrow and conscience.

| Posted on 2009-02-22 | by a guest


.: :.

The soldier from the poem presumable fought in the South Africa Boer conflict, not WWI.

| Posted on 2009-02-12 | by a guest


.: cruelty of war :.

the main idea of the poem is the cruelty and absurdity of war, because of stupid reasons usual men begin to call each other foes and treat like enemies. The author wants to tell us that war is nonsense. and i feel sad that wars are ongoing

| Posted on 2008-05-25 | by a guest


.: about the poem :.

in this poem the poet tell as about this man he killed in the war,he feels guilty about what he has done. he say if he would have meet him in the bar they would probley got along but as they meet in a war they both had no choice but to shot at each other, and the poet trys to justifly the fact he killed this man in war 'i shot him dead because becease he was my foe' when he repeat the word because it shows that he is trying to think of a reason why he killed this man then he realise that it was because it was his foea and he probly only joined the war because he needed the money. then at the end off the peom he make thea joke of the war.

| Posted on 2008-05-11 | by a guest




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