"The Man He Killed" Summary

"The Man He Killed" is a poem by Thomas Hardy that explores an plain man"s endure of battle.

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After killing a man on the battlearea, the speaker thinks about the life of the male he eliminated.Though he knows he did his duty as a solider, the speaker can"t assist however wonder whether he and also this other male might have been friends under different scenarios.The speaker concludes that battle is "quaint and also curious," for it transforms men that would certainly generally display compassion to one another into mortal adversaries.
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Last Updated on February 25, 2021, by jiyuushikan.org Editorial. Word Count: 584


“The Man He Killed” was composed by British novelist and also poet Thomas Hardy in 1902 and also published initially in the November 8, 1902, issue of Harper"s Weekly and also later in Hardy"s 1909 anthology Time"s Laughingstocks and also Other Verses . Hardy was fascinated and also appalled by wars, both...

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“The Man He Killed” was written by British novelist and poet Thomas Hardy in 1902 and publimelted first in the November 8, 1902, concern of Harper"s Weekly and also later in Hardy"s 1909 anthology Time"s Laughingstocks and also Other Verses. Hardy was fascinated and appalled by battles, both historical and also contemporary, and he composed this poem throughout the last year of South Africa"s second Boer War. In the poem, Hardy explores the reaction of an simple British infantrymale (in his own dialect) to the violence and absurdity of battle.


In the first stanza, the speaker invites his audience to photo a scene: he speculates about an uncalled guy, referred to just as “He.” Had the speaker met this male in front of a British pub or tavern, he thinks the two might have sat down in companionship and had a couple of drinks together (“wet / Right many kind of a nipperkin!”). Here, the word “nipperkin” describes a container holding a details amount of alcohol, most likely between an eighth to a fifty percent of a pint. Thus, the speaker indicates, two males can have actually been friends, drinking together and also enjoying one another"s firm.

Yet, as the second stanza provides clear, a friendship is not to be. The speaker does not accomplish the various other guy near an “prehistoric inn” yet fairly “ranged as infantry,” revealing that the speaker is a soldier, and also the unrecognized man he speaks of is his opponent on the battlefield. The speaker recounts how, once they challenged one one more on the battlearea, he swarm at the other guy even as the other male experienced and swarm at the speaker. Apparently, the speaker possessed the much better aim or speed, for the other male dropped down dead best where he stood.

In the third stanza, the speaker tries to justify his actions. Both guys were just doing their duty, the speaker implies. He swarm the male in front of him bereason he was his foe, and also tbelow was ssuggest nothing else he could have actually done. The other male had actually to die or—it’s implied—the speaker would have. The speaker does not appear completely persuaded by this thinking, however. He tries to reassure himself that the case was “clear enough,” however the stanza ends on a speculative note, through the speaker renoting, “although.”

In the fourth stanza, the speaker retransforms to the conjectures in the initially stanza. Now, however, he considers the other man’s life, speculating that he more than likely enlisted casually without thinking much around it (“Off-hand like”), just favor he himself did. Perhaps, the speaker wonders, the guy required the work-related, having actually currently marketed off all his “traps” (belongings). The last line of the stanza emphasizes that enlisting is not always motivated by patriotism or devotion to a certain cause—for many civilization (and also maybe for the speaker himself) mundane needs choose money and an occupation can be the just factors that lead one to end up being a soldier.

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In the fifth stanza, the speaker sums up his reflections by concluding that battle is “quaint and also curious.” The speaker provides both of these words in different ways from their many common definitions. “Quaint” below means peculiar or inexplicable while “curious” describes something odd, stselection, or unsupposed. Yes, battle is starray, the speaker msupplies. Under simple circumstances, one can treat a fellow guy to a drink in a bar or sell a couple of shillings to him (“aid to half-a-crown”) if he’s in need; on the battlefield, but, one is meant to shoot down that same male without any hesitation.