Thomas Hardy

Start Your Free Trial

Discuss Hardy's attitude to war in his poem "The Man He Killed."

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,725 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Hardy shows a critical attitude toward war in "The Man he Killed." Rather than having his narrator talk about the man he kills in battle as evil or justify killing him as necessary for a heroic cause, Hardy's speaker simply sees the other man as person like him. He imagines the two of them in other circumstances sitting down to share a beer in an inn. He perceives his "foe" as a person who perhaps joined his own army not out of burning patriotism but because he was down on his luck and needed a job.

Hardy strips war down from propaganda about valor and heroism to simply two regular men facing off for no good reason. One lives and one dies.

By reducing warfare to ordinary people who might otherwise be friends killing each other, Hardy shows how senseless war is. His narrator calls warfare "quaint and curious," which is ironic: what he describes in killing an otherwise innocent person makes warfare appear barbaric and cruel.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

lynnebh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,203 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Thomas Hardy 's works often...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 535 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

















check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Doug Stuva eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write1,751 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial