A Critical Analysis Of Wilfred Owen's The Man He Killed?

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There are often misleading glorified ideas told to people when they first join the war. They are told they will be seen as strong, brave, and somehow immortal. It is seen as a great honor to serve one’s country during war but not everything is as it seems. The gruesome reality of war is often times unacknowledged when recruiting new people. Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce est Decorum et” paints a horrific image of the blood-shed and horror behind war. Owen uses his personal traumas to illustrate the graphic image that is undisclosed when people first join. Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Man He Killed” tells of one man’s experience of killing a man and living with the consequences afterwards. The speaker is forced to attempt to justify his actions to himself.…show more content…
In Owen’s poem “Dulce est Decorum et,” the poet uses similes to create a visual image of the terrifying experience he had during war. He uses the simile “Bent-double, like old beggars under sacks” (line 1) to describe his physical condition. He is unable to walk straight because the injuries he has sustained fighting in war make it hard on him to find his strength. He compares his sleep deprivation to being “Drunk with fatigue,” (7) comparing it to the inability to fully control his body. Owen also speaks about how war affects soldiers even in their sleep. He says “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning,” (15-16). It is inhumane that Owen is unable to find peace even in his sleep. He closes his eyes to rest and he is still haunted by images of the war. The stanzas are effective in unveiling the reality of war because it “appalls through its horrifying physicality and its presentation of suffering that is endless” (Sillars 219). He described his fellow soldier’s painful death as “obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud, of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues-“(23-24) he is describing the cruel reality of war. Owen unveils the lie when she says that others “would not tell with such high zest” (25) to “children ardent for some desperate glory” (26) the lie that it is honorable to die for one’s country if they had…show more content…
Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Man He Killed,” speaks about how a man would have befriended the man he killed if they had met under different circumstances. There is only one speaker in the poem that is picking over his thoughts. The speaker of the poem is searching for a reason to justify his killing of another man just like him. He struggles to understand why he shot another man because he constantly pauses and tries to convince himself that what he is saying is true. His consistent interruption of his own thoughts and his need to repeat himself show “that the explanation he has laid hold of is somehow insufficient,” (Baker). He can’t seem to accept the reason for killing this man was simply because he was supposed to. The use of analytical words such as “foe” (line 10) and “quaint” (17) is his attempt to make the killing less emotional. The speaker attempts to make the killing acceptable by making it seem as though it was the necessary thing to do. The two men could have behaved differently if the war wasn’t pinning them against each other. It is dehumanizing because he had to kill a man he could have been friends with if they were not put in a life or death situation. He wonders about the dead man’s financial status and begins to think about the possible similarities. The speaker wonders about the possibility that
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