The Parable of the Old Man and the Young

Topics: Isaac, Symbolism, Abraham Pages: 2 (448 words) Published: October 14, 2007
Looking at the poem, "The Parable of the Old Man and the Young" by Wilfred Owen for the first time, I was reminded of the story in the bible 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."

After re-reading the poem, I see 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 poem reminds me of the horrors of war, and how sometimes governments can just be so cruel and heartless without second thought. All of this just because of just a bit of pride. Probably this poem is referring to WWI since no other war has had such a dramatic impact on Europe as did the "Great War." Overall, the poem is very metaphorical, symbolizing...
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