Commentary on Lawrence Binyon’s For the Fallen
For as long as mankind continues to feel the need for international conflict and bloodshed, there will be war and hence, literature pertaining to war. Lawrence Binyon’s For the Fallen optimistically theorizes the exalted position of the deceased after succumbing to the horrors of war. Lawrence Binyon’s formulated transition which was further complimented by his precise vocabulary to emotionalize the dramatic situations aids the poem to effectively present a new perception of the lives, not deaths of the soldiers.
The theme that is gradually exposed is that of an ironic yet solemn nature. The painful, bloody demise of soldiers is commonly depicted as an unfortunate situation drastically cutting the lives of these men short. In contrast, Binyon depicts the lives of these young soldiers as eternal and that while the mortality of humanity disallows others of escaping death, these deceased will have their lives lengthened to eternity, for as long as they are remembered.
Binyon’s theme is imparted to the reader with his organized structure that allows smooth flow and transition throughout the poem. His 7 quatrains share the same rhyme scheme of “abcb” allowing a smooth and comfortable reading of the poem that is appealing to the ear. His frequent pauses are expressed using punctuation and encourage gradualism to emphasize certain ideas such as the losses experienced in lines 17-20. Personifying England, the nation of these men, emphasizes the grief of the losses presenting a very personal and painful reaction to the death: “flesh of her flesh” “spirit of her spirit”. Nevertheless it regards the losses as a necessary and purposeful sacrifice as it states the reason “cause of the free”. This belief will be contradicted as the saviours become unchained from death while the saved remain mortal.
The image of the saviours is further exalted by stating their bravery: “they fell with their faces to their foe” thus...
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