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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Activity time. Let's scan the second stanza, just for kicks: "But ranged as infantry, And staring face to face, I shot at him as he at me, And killed him in his place. Three things you might want...

Speaker

You can see this speaker in one of two ways: he's a bumbling oaf who doesn't get the magnitude of his actions, or he's a wounded, shell-shocked veteran of a terrible war.Of course, he's probably a...

Setting

It's easy to imagine our speaker sitting at a bar shooting the breeze with his buddy, trying to make him understand what it's like to shoot a man face to face on the battlefield. That's the easy pa...

Sound Check

Being a dramatic monologue, this poem sounds exactly like what it is—a dude talking. He stumbles over his words, repeats himself, hashes things out as he goes, and even has hints of an accent or...

What's Up With the Title?

Here's the thing. This entire poem is written in the first person. We're hearing about this battlefield death from the mouth of the man who actually made that death happen.Which raises the question...

Calling Card

Hardy wrote his fair share of war poems—"Drummer Hodge," "Channel Firing," "In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations.'" But he also wrote other poems about major historical events, like "The Convergen...

Tough-o-Meter

This poem begs to be understood. There are no references to obscure myths or funky words that you can't guess the meaning of (except maybe nipperkin). The real work of "The Man He Killed" is sortin...

Trivia

Thomas Hardy set all of his poetry in a semi-fictional area called Wessex that corresponded to a real area of southwest England. So… why not just set it in southwest England? (Source.)Hardy was a...

Steaminess Rating

War poems tend not to be all that sexy. Just sayin'.
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