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The Man He Killed

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Katie Beckwith

on 24 April 2013

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Transcript of The Man He Killed

The Man He Killed Thomas Hardy The poem's speaker discusses the time when he killed a man during war and attempts to rationalize the event to himself, but he realizes that there was no good reason why he shot him. summary paraphrase If he and I had met somewhere else, like an old tavern, we would have had a nice chat over a few drinks. Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because—
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like—just as I—
Was out of work—had sold his traps—
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown. But instead we met in war, across the battle field, so we shot at each other, and I killed him. I shot at him because he was the enemy. Of course he was the enemy, but... He was probably a lot like me. Maybe he enlisted in the army because he was out of work. He needed money, so he sold his personal belongings. War is strange. You kill men that, had you met them anywhere else, you would have bought a drink for or loaned them money. Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because—
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like—just as I—
Was out of work—had sold his traps—
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown. Who


What


When


Where


Why An unnamed former soldier Thinking about his experience during war Late 1800s, during the Boer Wars England The speaker is feeling guilt over killing the other soldier and is trying to justify his actions in order to ease his conscience. Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

I shot him dead because—
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like—just as I—
Was out of work—had sold his traps—
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown. Situational Irony Verbal Irony Understatement Had he and I but met

By some old ancient inn,

We should have set us down to wet

Right many a nipperkin!


But ranged as infantry,

And staring face to face,

I shot at him as he at me,

And killed him in his place.


I shot him dead because—

Because he was my foe,

Just so: my foe of course he was;

That's clear enough; although

He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like—just as I—
Was out of work—had sold his traps—
No other reason why.

Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown. u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u u / u / Quatrains of Iambic Trimeter and Tetrameter u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / u / Repetition Internal Rhyme Alliteration Assonance Diction Suggests that the speaker is a common person, not of high society

"right many a nipperkin"
"off hand like" Syntax Broken syntax using hyphens shows the speaker's skepticism and hesitation in what he is discussing.

"Off-hand like -- just as I --
Was out of work -- had sold his traps" Imagery Vague imagery creates an eerie, melancholic atmosphere that contributes to the overall questioning tone of the poem.

"Some old ancient inn"
"Standing face to face" Tone Ironic, Questioning, Eerie Thomas Hardy Born in Dorset, England in 1840
Attended school as a child, but his family was too poor to send him to a university
Trained as an architect
Moved to London and attended King's college
Returned to Dorset and dedicated himself to writing
Married Emma Lavinia Gifford in 1874
Emma's death in 1912 had a significant impact on Hardy and his writing
Died in 1928- his ashes were placed in the Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey and his heart was buried with his wife Hardy's Style His poems and novels all tend to deal with heavy, dark themes. His work expresses the idea that human suffering and tragedy are inevitable with a tone of stoic pessimism. A
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F Works Cited
Allen, Liz. "Poetry Analysis: The Man He Killed, by Thomas Hardy." Helium. Helium, 16 Mar. 2008. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.
"The Man He Killed." Shmoop. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.
"Thomas Hardy." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 21 Apr. 2013.
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