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War Protest Song - Masters of War

Analysis of Bob Dylan's Masters of War

Brian Baist

on 13 November 2012

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Transcript of War Protest Song - Masters of War

-Bob Dylan SONG INTRODUCTION Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks. War isn't a game You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly. DECEIT You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain Leaders Aren't Hurt by their Decisions.
Their soldiers are. You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion'
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud. UNFORGIVABLE You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do. Money Can't Buy Forgiveness
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul. Masters of War WAR PROTEST SONG Dylan is saying that political leaders hide in the safety of their offices as they send the U.S. soldiers out to risk their lives and do their dirty
work. The men in charge of the war
act as if war is a game. This explains when Dylan says, "You play with my world, Like its your little toy". Dylan views war as a matter that must be taken very seriously. He thinks military leaders should be more cautious with the lives of their
soldiers. The leaders in charge of our military try to feed the citizens of the U.S. with lies. The government is content with sitting back and watching as their troops are murdered ("Then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher"). The decisions our leaders have made are thoughtless and unforgivable. Dylan's Conclusion And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead. Our leaders have made immoral, corrupt decisions in order to help only themselves and make money. Dylan is telling them that money can't buy forgiveness for the horrible things they have done. Dylan concludes the song with a straight-forward and grim ending. He shows his genuine hatred for the leaders whom are making corrupt decisions by saying "I hope that you die... And I'll stand over your grave, Til I'm sure that you're dead". Song Background "Masters of War" by Bob Dylan, was written in the winter of 1962-63. During the time of the release, the nation was stuck in a conflicting time period where many Americans didn't support the nations involvement in the cold war against the Soviet Union. It was published on Dylan's album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan". Dylan, a young artists being only 30, was one of the first to stand out and voice his opinion against the politicians and war profiteers. The song was a bold, direct protest to the Cold War that appealed to the cultures desire for change. Lyrical Analysis American singer Bob Dylan was born on May 24 1941 as Robert Zimmerman. His career skyrocketed in the 1960s as he published countless songs for civil rights and war protest. Appealing to the changing culture of his era, Dylan included political, social, and philosophical aspects in his songs. All in all, Dylan has been influencing music culture for over five decades. Artist Background Lyrical Analysis Lyrical Analysis Lyrical Analysis Lyrical Analysis Lyrical Analysis Lyrical Analysis Tone In Masters of War, Bob Dylan sings with a very serious tone. He talks down on the government controlling our military. He manages to keep the song at a constant, mellow, sincere tone. The background music helps create a grim atmosphere. The shrill, eerie vocals of his song help emphasis the importance of his words. He also uses a repetitive guitar melody to help the listener focus in on the lyrics. Through his lyrics and background music, he seems to keep a level head. However, at the conclusion of the song his tone escalates into a more aggressive manner as he says he hopes the politicians and military profiteers die. Characterization Dylan characterizes the government leaders as cowards hiding behind their desks as they send our soldiers out to their deaths. He also says that our leaders main motivation is money. By describing the selfish actions and motivations of our government, Dylan reveals many aspects of United States leaders that many would not expect. Ability to Involve the Listener Dylan's Masters of War aroused a massive emotional response from its listeners. It provoked a distaste for our government by revealing the harsh realities of war. Through this song, Dylan attempted to enlighten his audience by telling them that the leaders controlling our military ("the masters of war") are corrupted and only motivated by money, not protecting our soldiers. In conclusion, Bob Dylan's Masters of War was a bold protest song to the Cold War and the leaders whom made the important military decisions from inside the safety of their offices. "You that hide behind desks" "Then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher" "You play with my world
Like it's your little toy" "You lie and deceive" "You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes" Characterizes the politicians as greedy cowards -Characterizes politicians as distrustful
-Begins to evoke emotion from listener
Full transcript