Seminar 1 Essay
The Parable o the Old Man and the Young
The Parable of the Old Man and the Young is a short poem written by Wilfred Owen in 1920, As the title mentions, the poem is a parable. It is generally accepted that the old man, Abram, represents the European nations or more probably their governments, the first view of the poem is that it is heavily based on the story Abram (Genesis 22:1-18), where Abram is told to sacrifice his son. In the story, as he was about to sacrifice his son as an offering to God, an angel comes down and tells him to stop and to sacrifice a lamb instead. He does as he's told and makes a covenant with God saying that Abram will be the Father of a new nation. But the twist in this poem is that when Abram is told by the angel to stop, he doesn't and kills his son. "But the old man would not so, but slew his son,/And half the seed of Europe, one by one." The author also manages to include metaphors and symbolisms referring to a war. "Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps, /and builded parapets and trenches there." This quote is clearly depicting an image of Isaac going unwillingly to war with the parapets and trenches. "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." The quote symbolizes that all that all Abram has to do is give up his pride and not send his son Isaac to the gruesome war. "But the old man would not so, but slew his son,/ And half the seed of Europe, one by one." I believe that Abram represents the government of Europe, drafting the people (Isaac) to go to their doom in war. Along with the rest of the population of Europe to die at war, heartlessly and without any regret all the government had to do was give up their "pride." Probably Europe lost the war. The last two lines are the only ones that rhyme, and the image they paint is chilling: an old...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document