War Poetry Conflict Essay

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Conflict is a main theme in war poetry as will be shown throughout this assessment. In ‘The Man He Killed’ By Thomas Hardy the speaker is a young soldier who has killed an enemy in the Boer War and is experiencing guilt and regret about his actions, as further on in the poem he considers him as a friend had they met under different circumstances ‘You shoot a fellow down You’d treat if met where any bar is’. The theme of the poem is about the man that the young soldier has killed. The poem is spoken in first person, suggesting the title should be ‘The Man I killed.’ Hardy has done this intentionally as ‘He’ could refer to anyone that fought in the war, which helps convey the futility of war and how it affects you emotionally. At the start of the poem Hardy presents war as jolly by being nostalgic about what could have happened if he didn’t kill the man. ‘We should have sat us down to a wet Right many a nipperkin!’ as he is trying to justify his actions to himself to put his mind at rest why he killed the man. In the 3rd stanza he uses repetition to explain to himself why he fought in war and shot a man. ‘I shot him dead because-Because he was my foe’ the hesitation shows self doubt and inner conflict. Hardy fought in the war for money no for any patriotic reason. This is effective as the reader sympathises with Hardy as he has to live with this internal torture for his forced actions. By having sympathy for Hardy we understand his deep regrets of war, which is mental conflict. The repeated words in the poem show internal feelings and he is sorry. ‘He my foe He my foe’ as he is trying to convince himself. The speech marks at the start and end of the poem makes it realistic and comes from the heart, which helps the reader agree with his point of view. He believes war isn’t right and only agrees with fighting for a personal reason not for money (like he did) or being forced to or fooled by propaganda. The children’s rhyming scheme helps get his point across simply...
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