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.
Thomas Hardy 's works often...
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