What are the language terms of the poem "The Man He Killed" by Thomas Hardy?Tell me if there is any metaphor, simile, allusion or anything about the poem.

1 Answer | Add Yours

mstultz72's profile pic

mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

“The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy

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.

We have lots of irony: of place (the bar vs. the battlefield); of theme (friends vs. enemies in war); verbal irony: "quaint and curious war is" and "that's clear enought" are classic understatement.

We have an unreliable (naive) narrator / speaker: he does not know who he is and why things are.

We also have a imbedded narrator: all of this is being overheard by a narrator in the bar, so the narrator is like the reader, an indirect source.

We have imagery, mainly to do with the price of things ("half a crown", "sold his traps")

We have character foils (reflections of each other): "But ranged as infantry,/ And staring face to face, / I shot at him as he at me, / And killed him in his place."  Are they friends or foes?

We have a logical fallacy (circular reasoning): "I shot him dead because--/Because he was my foe, / Just so: my foe of course he was; / That's clear enough; although."

We’ve answered 317,487 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question