From the first line, “If we must die, let it not be like hogs” (1), Mckay uses a simile to show that a soldier’s death should not be to be openly butchered, end without an impact. Line 1 starts off with a spondaic foot “If we”, then continues to the end of the line with all iambic feet to gather the attentions of his subordinates into a single will. Following that simile, “Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot” (2), the speaker expands the imagery of a hog dying stuck in one location and waiting to be killed to reinforce a solider should not create a legacy of giving up. With “While round us back the mad and hungry dogs, / Making their mock at our accursed lot,” (3-4) the persona is trying to accomplish two tasks: provoke his men...
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...n; then even the monsters we defy/ Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!” (5-8), to establish a legacy of overcoming the final ordeal of one’s life, the fear of death. “O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe! /Though far outnumbered let us show us brave, /And for their thousand blows deal one deathblows!” (9-11) to create a legacy dye in many hues of suffering and happiness for others to see. “What though before us lies the open grave? / Like men we’ll face the murderous cowardly pack, / Pressed to the wall, dying but fighting back!” (12-14) to finish a legacy with a magnificent conclusion of resisting against hell and death themselves until one’s last breath. Mckay may have intensified the atmosphere of the battlefield setting to emphasize the theme: fight against death as long as possible to build a legacy full of suffering and happiness for the future.
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