What does the poem "Five Ways to Kill a Man" by Edwin Brock say about the survival of the human race?The poem is called "Five Ways to Kill a Man" by Edwin Brock.
This poem is filled with irony. The author refers to several kinds of "warfare."
First he refers to the crucifixion of Christ (plank of wood, cock that crows, and a hill, etc.).
Next, he refers to the killing of knights during the medieval period (length of steel, metal cage he wears, and a castle, etc.).
The third stanza refers to World War I (gas, rats, and a dozen songs), while the fourth stanza refers to World War II (the atomic bomb and Hitler—the psychopath).
Through the entire "timeline" of the poem, the author talks about these "cumbersome" ways of killing, while paradoxically each stanza shows advancements in more sophisticated ways to kill.
However, the pivotal point in the poem is found with the final stanza. It reiterates that all the prior methods listed are cumbersome. This is a surprise, not for the first several stanzas, but it is for the stanza on World War II: when advanced technology had created an atomic bomb that brought about Japan's surrender.
The final irony is the author's message that advancements in technology provide no better way for killing: the best way to kill, he pro ports, is to leave mankind to its own devices. By doing so, men will kill themselves in the way they live during the most advanced age known to man, the twentieth century. In other words, when mankind should have the most answers to avoid war, without any help the human race will "self-destruct."