The theme of a poem is the message of the poem. Sometimes, a poem's theme is also an expression of the deeper meaning behind the words in the lines.
"They," by Siegfried Sassoon, is a poem that contains a powerful message, warning the reader about the limitations of religious faith. As well, the speaker of the poem is also conveying a vehement anti-war message characterized by frustration and anger.
In the first stanza of the poem, the Bishop attempts to glorify the actions of the young soldiers fighting in World War I. A bishop is often considered as an important figure of the church and here in this poem, the Bishop functions as a representative of religious faith. He describes the cause of the soldiers as "just" (line 3), and he celebrates the fighting by insisting that the soldiers have brought honor and more life potential to their own "honorable race" (5). But this point of view is limited, as the "boys" of the second stanza assert their exasperation with the Bishop's flawed...
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