From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Man He Killed

The Man He Killed


by Thomas Hardy

The Man He Killed Guilt Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

"Had he and I but met (1)

This desire for an alternative meeting between the men is our first clue that the speaker is attempting to take control of the events in his mind in order to change the outcome. Maybe he feels so guilty, he's literally wishing for this alternate reality to come true.

Quote #2

I shot at him and he at me (7)

The matter of fact language masks the speaker's guilt just as the understatement of the entire poem masks the traumatic event. He's basically saying, Yep, I shot the guy. What of it? while thinking, Good grief, I shot a guy.

Quote #3

"I shot him dead because— (9)

Hardy uses punctuation to imitate the speaker's confusion. The speaker literally stops himself midsentence because he realizes he has absolutely no clue how to finish the sentence in the first place. And if you've got no good reason to kill a man, well, then that means you're guilty. Harsh, but true.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...