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The Eve of Waterloo by Lord Byron is a narrative poem, exciting as well as full of pathos.

The poem is based on

a true incident that happened just before the Battle o Waterloo. The battle took place in June 1815 in Waterloo, a
village about 11 miles from Brussels where the Duke of Wellington defeated his famous French rival, Napoleon.
Napoleon was sent to exile and imprisonment. When Napoleon was advancing towards Brussels, the Duke of
Wellington was with his officers attending a ball thrown by Charlotte, the Duchess of Richmond.
Stanza 1: The poem, The Eve of Waterloo begins with a night scene, the eve of the battle. The sound of revelry
echoes in the large ballrooms of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. The English officers and their ladies are seen
dancing to the tune of the music which is being played. The ballroom was dazzling with the glow of bright lamps.
Everybody present there was in a happy mood. As the volume of the music increased, the couples dancing
started to exchange expressions of love through their glances. As the celebrations advanced like a wedding
ceremony, they heard a sound of a cannon fire similar to the sound of a church bell announcing a burial.
Stanza 2: The sound of the cannon fire was ignored in the beginning by everyone as they thought it was the
sound of the wind or that of a rattling car over the stony street. The people in the ballroom continued with their
dances and enjoyed themselves without being disturbed until dawn. The poet has used personification here;
Youth and Pleasure have been personified. The poet says when youth and pleasure meet; they seem to be
dancing in such a way as if they are chasing time with the speed of their feet. All of a sudden, the sounds of the
cannon are heard once again. The sounds are louder, clearer and deadlier than before. Everybody was asked to
arm themselves as the cannon fires began to roar.
Stanza 3: The Duke of Brunswick, Frederick William was the first to hear the sound amidst the celebrations. He
could recognize from the tone that it was the sound of cannon. The Duke understood that it was a death knell for
him. His father too was killed in a battle. It was the same sound that preceded his death. Thus, he was
determined to take revenge upon his enemies by shedding the blood of his opponents. He is killed in the
Stanza 4: The fourth stanza describes the confusion and the chaotic situation that takes place as the people are
hurrying to and fro to prepare for the war. The women are sad because they are soon going to part with their
partners. Their eyes are wet and they are trembling with fear. Due to the sudden parting, their cheeks have
turned pale, which were blushing sometime back. The young people felt that their life was being taken away from
them. The choking sighs might never be repeated; no one knew whether or not the men would return from the
battle. They all wondered that how a night so full of love and happiness could give rise to such an awful and
dreadful morning.
Stanza 5: The men quickly formed their ranks. The soldiers and officers mount their horses and gather in large
numbers and starts moving towards their approaching enemies with great speed. The thundering sound of the
enemies guns is heard again and again. In the meantime, the city is woken up by the warning drums that are
played early morning. The people assemble in groups, terrified. They whisper with pale lips to specify that the
French army had come.
Stanza 6: The Camerons (a clan of Highlanders) play their war-music, the wild and high notes of the bagpipes
rise above all noise. It was often heard in the hills of Albyn, (a Gaelic name of Scotland). As the Camerons are
playing their music, the Saxons are filled with fear. However, it puffed up the hearts of the Highland soldiers with
inborn courage in a similar way as their bagpipes were filled with their breath.

Stanza 7: In the seventh stanza, we find the army making their way through the forest of Ardennes, the leaves on
the trees waving above them as if they are shading tears over the heroes who would not return home from the
battlefield. The poet beautifully draws an image in the last line of this stanza; he says that the grass on which the
army is treading will soon be covered with their corpses. The soldiers fighting the enemy would soon be cold and
Stanza 8: The last stanza of The Eve of Waterloo makes a contrasting remark. The previous night, these same
soldiers were full of life and they were vigorously dancing in the party. They were seen preparing and getting
ready in their uniforms for the battle early morning. The dark clouds of the battle surrounded the soldiers. Finally,
at the end of the day, we find the earth covered with heap of dead bodies of thousands of men. The soldiers have
lost their identity. The bodies of soldiers, the friends or the enemies, the horses- all lay buried in one heap,
covered in blood and soil.
Rider and horse,- friend and foe,- in one red burial blent.
Through this poem The Eve of Waterloo, Byron wants to send a message to the world that no war can be
justified. War is something that begins with a mans ambition but ends with destruction on all sides. Thousands
lose their lives and their homes, thousands go astray. There is no glory in war but only death and destruction.
Form and Structure:
The poem is composed in Spenserian stanzas, named after Edmund Spenser. In this kind of stanza, the first
eight lines are in iambic pentameter and the last line is in iambic hexameter. The rhyming pattern is ababbcbcc.
Interjections: Byron has used a number of interjections in his poem, The Eve of Waterloo. Some of them are
Hark, Hush, Arm Ah and Alas.
The imageries used in the beginning of the poem show the cheerful mood of the soldiers dancing in the party.
Beauty and Chivalry, thousands hearts beat happily, all went merry as a marriage bell are indications of a
joyous party. A little later, there is a rapid succession of images specifying hurry and movement. The descriptions
are so vivid that the readers can even visualize. For example,
And there was mounting in hot haste: the steed.
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car.
The last two stanzas of The Eve of Waterloo are full of images depicting the change in scene from celebration
and fun to battle and death. Green leaves and grass contrasts with grieves and strife. The last line of the
poem, the poet writes, Rider and horse,- friend and foe,- in one red burial blent which symbolizes that all
soldiers and their horses are killed and blended in mud, soil and blood.
Poetical Devices:
Figures of speech such as metaphors, similes and personification are used in the poem.
Metaphor: And caught its tone with deaths prophetic ear.
fiery mass/ Of living valour, rolling on the foe.
Simile: to be trodden like the grass.
Summary and Analysis of The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning
The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning is a monologue of a rejected lover exploring the end
of a love affair. The title suggests the last ride that the lover has spent with his love. However, the

poet wants to convey through the narrator that rather than feeling sad about the end, he should be
happy for the love that he underwent and which remains in his memory.
Stanza 1:
The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning begins with a lover getting finally rejected by his
lady-love after he waited for her for a long time. As the lover is sincere in his love, he does not
have any ill-will for his lady-love. On the contrary, he tells his beloved that the uncertainty is no
longer present as he knows that he would not get her love. The speaker says, his beloveds love
was the most meaningful thing in his life and after he has lost her love, his life has lost all its
meaning and significance. Despite of the failure, neither the lover has any anger towards her
beloved nor does he blame her for anything. He believes in the fate and that his failure was
ordained by God. He has accepted that rejection and suffering was destined to him and therefore
he has no one to put the blame on. In fact, he feels proud that he had the opportunity to love her
and enjoy her company for a long time. He is grateful towards her for the beautiful and blissful
moments they had together. For this he asks God to bless her. Though he has no hopes of ever
getting her love back in his life, he requests her for two wishes. First, he should be allowed to
cherish the memories of his love and the memories of the happiness during the courting period.
Secondly, if she considers nothing indecent in this request, he wants to go on a last ride with her

Stanza 2:
The lady is in a dilemma, not able to decide whether she should accept the request or reject it. For
a moment she bows down her head as if she was deeply thinking about it. Her eyes reflected pride
as well as pity. Her virgin pride is in conflict with her pity for her lover. She hesitates for a moment
and these brief moments seem like torture to the lover. It is a matter of life and death for him. If
she accepts his request for having a last ride with him, it would mean life for him but if she refuses
then it would mean death for him.
Finally, the lady accepts his request. The lover is extremely happy, it seemed like the circulation of
blood in his body has been regenerated. When the lady stood confused, deciding whether or not to
accept his request, the lover felt lifeless. Presently, his life and activity has been restored to normal
by her favourable reply. The lover is at peace as he is going to enjoy bliss and his lovers company
for another day. He hopes for the world to end that very night so that his moment of bliss becomes
eternal. In that way, he would be with her always and there would be no need of despair at being
rejected by his lad-love.
Stanza 3:
The third stanza is about the description of the heavenly bliss which the lover experiences when his
beloved lies on his bosom. He compares his experience with natures joy and healing power. He
feels like a man, who sees an evening cloud, swelling up like the sea-wave, illuminated and made
beautiful by the light of the setting Sun, the Moon and the Stars. The man looks at the cloud, he is
passionately drawn towards it and it seemed like the cloud was coming closer to him. In such a
moment, he feels he has been transported to heaven and his body has lost its physicality. But he is
afraid at the same time. He is afraid that his lover would leave him anytime and that this moment
of bliss would end forever.
Stanza 4:
The last ride begins. This blissful experience gives the lover soul a terrific experience. The poet
compares the lovers soul to that of a crumpled paper which has been kept like that for a long time.
When exposed to wind, this paper opens up, the wrinkles get smoothened and it starts fluttering in
the wind like a bird. In the same way, the lovers soul has grown wrinkled due to the grief of his

failure in love. But after encountering the last ride with his beloved, his soul experiences
tremendous joy and feels rejuvenated.
The lover says that his hopes of getting her love are a matter of the past. He feels that regret for
the past is of no use. The lover thinks that it is now of no use to act in a different manner or
express his love in different words for getting her love. This could lead her to hate him instead of
loving him. At least now she does not hate him but is indifferent to his love. At least, now he has
the pleasure of having the last ride with her.
Stanza 5: The lover as he is riding by his beloveds side thinks about the sorry state of humanity of
the world. He consoles himself that he is not the single person to fail and suffer in life. Not all men
succeed in their efforts. The landscape seems to him to have a different look. The fields and the
cities through which they are passing seem to him more beautiful than before. He feels as if his
own joy has illuminated the entire region on both sides.
The lover realizes that all human beings work hard to achieve their goals but only a few succeed.
Like others, he too had failed but still he has his last wish fulfilled by riding with his beloved. The
lover does not want to complain about his failures but enjoy the ride to the fullest in the company
of his beloved.
Stanza 6: The lover as he rides with his beloved continues to think about the world. He says that
brain and hand cannot go together hand in hand. Conception and execution can never be paired
together. Man is not able to make pace with his actions to match with his ambitions. He plans a lot
but achieves a little. The lover feels that he has at least achieved a little success by being able to
ride with his beloved. He compares himself with a statesman and a soldier. A statesman works hard
all his life but all his efforts are merely published in a book or as an obituary in newspapers.
Similarly a soldier dies fighting for his country and is buried in the Westminster Abbey, which is his
only reward after death. Sometimes an epitaph is raised in his memory but that is all.
Stanza 7: The lover then compares his lot with that of a poet. He believes that a poets reward is
too small compared with his skills. He composed sweet lyrics, thoughts of emotions of others,
views that men should achieve beautiful things in life. But the reward he gets in return is very little
and he dies in poverty in the prime of his life. Ordinary men cannot compose such poems.
Compared to the poet, the lover considers himself luckier as he has at least achieved the
consolation of riding with his lover for the last time.
Stanza 8:
In this stanza, the lover considers himself superior than the sculptor and the musician. A sculptor
devotes long years to art and creates a beautiful statue of Venus, the Greek goddess of youth and
beauty. Through his art, he expresses his ideas of beauty and grace. But the reward for his hard
work is all too less. People admire his work, praise it but the moment they see a real girl, they turn
away from it. The real girl may have ordinary beauty but still when the people see her, they turn
away from the statue. This shows that life is greater than art. Therefore, the speaker says that in
this case he is more successful than a sculptor because he can ride with his beloved and the
sculptor cannot have this happiness.
The lover then talks about a musician. He considers the musician as unsuccessful as the sculptor. A
musician devotes his best years to composing sweet music. But the only praise he receives is by
his friends and his music is used in operas which proved to be popular. But at the same time, tunes
which once popular are soon forgotten. The lover considers himself happier and more successful
than the musician. He has the pleasure of enjoying the last ride with her beloved. The musician can
never enjoy this happiness.
Stanza 9:
In the ninth stanza, the lover states his point that none succeeds in this world, despite the best
efforts, the lover goes on to say that it is not easy to know what is good for man. Since the lover is

Brownings mouthpiece, he expresses the view of the poet: success in this life means failure in the
life to come.
If the lover is destined to enjoy the supreme bliss in this world by getting the desired love of his
beloved, he would have nothing left to hope for in the near future. He feels that he has reached his
destination in this world and has achieved the garland of victory by winning the love of his beloved.
He may have failed in his love but it means success in the other world. Now, when he will die he
will think of reuniting with his lover after death. If a man gets perfect happiness in this world,
heaven would not be attracted towards him. The lover believes that he would have the highest
bliss in heaven where he will meet his beloved.
Stanza 10:
During the ride, the lover was lost in his own thoughts while his beloved did not speak a single
word. But it did not make any difference to him as her company is a heavenly bliss for him. Man
has always looked upwards and imagined that heaven lies somewhere in the sky. This heaven is
symbolical of the best that man can imagine. Similarly, the lady is his heaven and he enjoys the
same happiness which others hope to enjoy in heaven.
The lover thinks that it would be a heaven on earth for him if he continues to ride with his beloved
forever. He wishes that the moment should become everlasting so that they could continue to ride
together forever and ever. That would indeed be heavenly bliss for him.
Form: The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning is a dramatic monologue. In a dramatic
monologue, a single person not the poet; speaks out a speech that makes up the whole of the
poem. The first-person speaker in the poem is the mouthpiece of the poet, Robert Browning but not
the poet himself. This is evident from the phrases like I said, I know, my whole heart I claim, my
mistress, my last thought, I miss, I alone, I hoped, I gave my youth and I signd.
Structure: The poem comprises of ten stanzas, each consisting of eleven lines each. The poem
follows the rhyming pattern aabbcddeeec.
Poetical Devices:
The poet has used a number of poetical devices in his poem The Last Ride Together, they are as
follows:Rhetorical Questions: A Rhetorical question is one which answers itself. Some of the
rhetorical in the poem are as follows,*What need to strive with a life awry?Here, the lover says
there is no point in grieving over a life which has been a failure.* Might she loved me?The lover
wants to say that the hope of getting her love has become a matter of the past.Metaphor:Example
of metaphor in The Last Ride Together by Robert Browning is-My soul/ Smoothd itself out, a
long-crampd scrollFreshening and fluttering in the wind.
Personification:When pity would be softening though is an example of personification in the
poem, The Last Ride Together.
Enjambment refers to the continuation of a sentence without a pause. Examples of enjambment in
the poem are as follows,*Take back the hope you gave,- I claim
Only a memory of the same,
*Hush! If you saw some western cloud
All billowy-bosomd, over-bowd

By many benedictions-suns
And moons and evening stars at once.
Robert Brownings poetry is regarded as the finest love poetry. His poems deal with the emotions of
love. His philosophy of love is an important part of his philosophy of life.
he speaker immediately tells us that something is amiss in the countryside. Something in the wide
blue yonder does not like walls. He and his neighbor must get together every spring to walk the
whole length of the stone wall that separates their properties, and to fix places where the wall has
Then, our speaker begins to question the need for walls. He grows apples and his neighbor grows
pine trees. His neighbor says that "good fences make good neighbors." The speaker becomes a bit
mischievous in the spring weather, and wonders if he can try to make his neighbor reconsider the
wall. His neighbor looks like a menacing caveman as he puts a rock into the wall, and repeats,
"Good fences makes good neighbors."
he poem Mending Wall by Robert Frost presents his ideas of barriers between people,
communication, friendship and the sense of safety that people acquire from building barriers.

Lines 1-9: The narrator expresses his wonder about a phenomenon, through these lines, that he
has observed in nature. He says that he has observed something mysterious takes place in nature
which does not love the existence of walls. That something makes the frozen ground to bloat
under the wall and topple the stone wall on the boundary of his property. Hence, a gap is created in
the wall through which two people can pass together. Robert Frost says that sometimes even
careless hunters damage the walls but he drives them away and repairs the gap. The hunters pull
down the stones of the walls. This way they search for rabbits hiding under the wall to please their
barking dogs.
Lines 9-22: The poet rehearses the mystery of the wall. He says that no one has seen or heard the
noise when the gaps in the walls are made. But these gaps are realities which are found during the
spring when it is time for mending walls. The narrator makes his neighbour go beyond the hill to
see the conditions there. One day, the narrator along with his neighbour decides to walk along the
wall which separates their properties. They find stones fallen on the ground while they are walking.
They pick up those stones from their respective sides. Some stones are shaped in bread loaves or
some are shaped in round balls. Hence, the narrator and his neighbour are unable to put those
stones back in their position. The narrator feels they need to use some kind of magic to put the
stones back on the wall. During the process of handling the stones, their fingers are chapped and
they feel tired. But the narrator and the neighbour look at it as an outdoor game, a kind of net
game, where the wall acts like a net and the narrator and his neighbour are opponents.
Lines 22-36: The narrator tries to convince his neighbour that the wall is of no need because the
narrator has an apple orchard while the neighbour own pine trees. He says that the apples that
grow in his orchard would not trespass and eat the cones of his pine trees. To this, the neighbour
replies, Good fences make good neighbours. The narrator is not sure whether he can put an idea
into the neighbours mind- the idea why good fences are required to keep cows at bay. If there are
no cows, fences are not needed either. The narrator tells that if he has to ever build a wall, he will
ask himself whom he will be protecting by constructing a wall and whether the wall will offend
anyone. He believes that there is something that does not love walls and wants it to be pulled
Lines 37-46:The narrator tells his friend that he believes some non-human entity like elves break
the walls. The elves are tiny, supernatural beings from folklore and myth. But then the narrator
changes his opinion and feels that it may not be the work of the elves but the power in nature

which works against building of walls and barriers. The narrator sees his neighbour holding firmly a
stone looking like an ancient stone-age man, armed to fight. The narrator feels that his neighbour
is living in the darkness of ignorance. His neigbour does not want to go against his fathers words
that good fences make good neighbours. Thinking for a while, his neighbour reiterates that Good
fences make good neighbours.
The theme of the poem is about two neighbours who disagree over the need of a wall to separate
their properties. Not only does the wall act as a divider in separating the properties, but also acts
as a barrier to friendship, communication. From the narrators view, barriers lead to alienation and
emotional isolation and loneliness. The narrator cannot help but notice that the natural world
seems to dislike the existence of a wall as much as he does and therefore, mysterious gaps appear
from nowhere and boulders fall for no reason. The poem portrays the lack of friendship between
two neighbours, they now each other but they are not friends. There exists a communication gap
between them; they meet each other only on appointed days to fix the wall separating their
Thus, the poem is a sad reflection on todays society, where man-made barriers exist between
men, groups, nations based on discrimination of race, caste, creed, gender and religion.
Form and Structure:
Mending Wall is a poem of 46 lines without a neat stanza structure. It is a dramatic narrative
poem composed in blank verse and also comprises of balanced strict Iambic pentameter lines.
The language of the poem is conversational in tone.
Poetical Devices:
Robert Frost has used a number of poetical devices to enhance the perception and feelings that he
wants to communicate to the readers through an inanimate object, a wall.
Metaphor: Examples of metaphors in the poem are listed below;
1. The wall in the poem is a metaphor for two kinds of barriers- physical and mental.
*Something there is that doesnt love a wall
*And set the wall between us once again
*We keep the wall between as we go.

2. In another metaphor, stone blocks have been compared to loaves and balls.
*And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance.

Example of simile from the poem,I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top

In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed..

In the above lines, Frost describes his neighbour who was holding a stone firmly in his hand and
looked like some primitive man armed to fight.

Something there is that doesnt love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
In the above lines, an unseen force in nature has been personified. It is this force that breaks down
the boundaries that man has created.

It is a figure of speech that has a similar word order and structure in their syntax.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
Here, to each is parallelism as it emphasizes that fact that the narrator and his neighbour are on
the opposite sides of the wall.
An example of Pun in the poem is And to whom I was like to offence. Here, the word offence is a
pun as it sounds like fence.
Frosts poems are famous for juxtaposing the opposites for life. The poem has two famous lines
which oppose each other.
Something there is that doesnt love a wall
Good fences make good neighbours.
Mending Wall has an allusion to elves, the tiny supernatural creatures drawn from folklore and
The examples of alliteration in the poem are the following:
*We wear our fingers with handling them
*Before I built a wall
*What I was walling in or walling out.

Frosts poems are known for his distinctive use of symbols. These symbols enhance the significance
and deeper meaning of the poem.
*The fence symbolizes national, racial, religious, political and economic conflicts and discrimination
which separate man from man and hinders the ways of understanding and cultivating relationships.
*The dispute between the two neighbours symbolizes the clash between tradition and modernity.
The young generation wants to demolish the old tradition and replace it with modernity while the
old wants to cling on to the existing tradition and beliefs.

In Mending Wall, Frost has taken an ordinary incident of constructing or mending a wall between
the his and his neighbours garden and has turned it into a meditation on the division between
human beings.
Wilfred Owen served as a Lieutenant in the British army during the First World War, ironically he
was killed shortly before the Armistice was signed.
Wilfred Owens Dulce Et Decorum Est is a compelling poem trying to depict the helplessness of
soldiers caught in a Gas Chamber. The poet describes the general condition of the men involved in
the war, their condition after a shock of a gas attack and then describing the effect of it on
someone who lives through it.

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The poem begins with a description of a group of soldiers retreating from the front lines of the
battlefield. The soldiers are bent over with fatigue and are compared to old beggars under sacks
clearly indicating the crippled state of the soldiers in the war. They are unable to walk as if their
limbs are tied to sacks. The soldiers are coughing like hags and kept on cursing and walking
through the soft wet soil.
The men are completely fatigues, men marched asleep. Many of the soldiers have lost their boots,
are seen limping on blood and gore, heightening the grim scene. All of them were lame and blind.
The repetition of the fatigued state of the soldiers is evident throughout the first stanza, old
beggars under sacks, men marched asleep, and then in the final lines of the stanza, Drunk with
fatigue. The soldiers are so tired that they did not hear the droppings of the Five-Nines behind

Someone freaks out, Gas! Gas! Quick boys! The soldiers are immediately transported into an
ecstasy of fumbling. They are in a hurry to put on the mask before the deadly poison can take
their lives. All except one are successful. He was found yelling and stumbling/ And floundering like
a man in fire or lime. The narrator looks back and finds the soldiers protective mask being
engulfed into the Green Sea.

The narrator and the other comrades look upon the helpless sight of the soldier dying in agony,
he plunges at me guttering, choking and drowning.

In the final stanza of the poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est, the poet describes the face of the dying
soldier. The soldiers lifeless body was flung into the wagon. The poet saw the white eyes of the
soldier writhing in his face. The face hanging loose from the body and is compared to a face of the
devil who is tired of sin. One could hear at every movement, the gargling of the blood from the
forth-corrupted lungs. The pain undergone by the soldier is obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud of
vile. The final four lines re sarcastically composed to undermine the noble statement of patriotism
that it is honourable to die for ones country. The full phrase that Owen has used to end his poem is
Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro patria mori which can be loosely translated to it is sweet and proper to
die for ones country.

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce Et Decorum Est
Pro patria mori.

Critical Appreciation:

The poem is composed in three irregular verse paragraphs. The first stanza consists of 8 lines, so
do the second and the third which is the most important has 12 lines.

The title of the poem, Dulce Et Decorum Est, is Latin and is taken from a work by the poet, Horace.
These words can be translated as sweet and proper. The full phrase at the end of the poem Dulce
Et Decorum Est Pro patria mori can be translated to sweet and proper to die for ones country.
But the title and the phrase both are ironical in nature.

Mood and Tone:

The mood of the poem is reflective. The poet is thinking about his own condition in First World War.

The tone of the poem is both ironical and sarcastic. The poet tries to present the realities of war
through images and haunting words which on the other hand contradict the reality. It is indeed not
sweet to die for ones country.

Use of Imagery:
What is most noticeable to the readers in Owens poetry is the vividness of his imagery. Dulce Et
Decorum Est is full of fine imagery. The poet had been successful in bringing the horrors of the war
come alive to the eyes of the readers. Some of the imageries are expressed in presented in
metaphors, others are presented in graphic language that describes the scene as the narrator sees
it or remembers it.
Some of the imageries are discussed below:
We cursed through sludge captures and presents the frustrations of the men who were mentally
and physically drained of their energies as they marched across the battlefield.
To describe the difficulty faced by the soldiers who have lost their boots, the poet uses imagery to
intensify the moment, But limped on, blood-shod. This imagery graphically represented the
condition of the mens feet. A sense of pity is felt by the readers reading those lines.
Other phrases vivid with imagery are white eyes writhing in the face, blood gargling out from
the forth-corrupted lungs, floundering like a man in fire or lime. All these imageries are intended
to contrast with the Latin maxim from which the poems title has been taken, Dulce Et Decorum Est
that is Sweet and Proper to undergo the disembodiment, suffering and death for ones own

Alliteration is the close repetition of the consonant sounds at the beginning of words to facilitate
narration. Examples of alliteration in the poem are
*Knock kneed
*Watch the white eyes writhing in the face
*Dulce Et Decorum Est

A simile is a figure of speech in which two dissimilar objects are compared and the comparison is
made clear by the use of terms like like, such as and so on. Examples of similes in Dulce Et
Decorum Est are:
*Bent double, like old beggars under sacks
*coughing like hags
*His hanging face, like a devils sick of sin Five Ways to Kill a Man by Edwin Brock mocks at the
dehumanization of man. The poem describes the various ways that man has used, beginning from
the ancient times to the 20th century, to kill other human beings. The methods he has used are
crucifixion, lancing, gassing, bombing etc.

Stanza 1: The very first stanza of the poem, Five Ways to Kill a Man begins with the crucifixion of
Jesus Christ. The method used to torture him and kill him are termed as cumbersome by the poet.
A whole crowd walks up a hill as they force him to carry the cross upon his back. Earlier, St. Peter
had denied thrice to have known him when he was asked whether he was in the company of Jesus.
The cock crowed to remind Peter that Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny Christ thrice
before the cock would crow. Jesus was nailed to the cross and the cross was then pulled erect.
Later on, Christ was asked to remove his cloak, so that he would not be able to have a proper burial
and his corpse would be left on top of the hill semi-clad. Christ was tortured in many ways. When
Christ asked for water, they gave him sponge soaked in vinegar tied to a rod which they put into
his mouth. Eventually, Jesus died and they waited there and watched him die.

Stanza 2: The second stanza talks about the medieval age when wars were fought for the sake of
crown and honour. This is a reference to the Wars of Roses (1455-1485), a series of dynastic wars
fought between the Houses of Lancaster and York, for the throne of England. There, the knights
foolishly slaughtered each other with hook axes and hammers which could pierce the armour with
ease. They rode and faced the opponents on white horses, attacking them with swords, ready to
kill or to be killed. The poet calls this game of jousting as futile because nothing was accomplished,
one man always ended up losing his life and the other celebrated his death. Similarly, crowns used
to go on conquering sprees, fighting huge wars to annex small kingdoms. Tow countries would go
to war and thousands o f people would die on both sides, before one prince would emerge as
victorious. Then the prince would throw a banquet, celebrating his victory and the deaths of the
numerous people he killed.

Stanza 3: The third stanza of Five Ways to Kill a Man is about the First World War. The poet says
that this period did not require Princes or loyal knights to kill. They only needed the favourable
wind direction to blow the deadly gas towards their opponents. The poet here refers to the
poisonous gas warfare that was popular during the World War. In 1915, the British used gas
cylinders on the Germans. However, the wind direction changed and the gas came back to the
British soldiers and poisoned them. Edwin Brock also describes the horrors of bombs, mudblackened boots, plague of mice and the miserable living conditions in the ditches. The poet talks
about all those patriotic songs that were sung to boost the morale of the soldiers and make them
feel proud for killing their enemies.

Stanza 4: The advent of the airplane and the atomic bomb is what the fourth stanza is about. Here
in this very stanza, he is referring to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan by the USA
during the Second World War. He says that this required an ocean to separate you referring to the
cultural gap between America and Japan; two systems of government referring to the difference in
the administrative systems of the two countries; a nations scientists and several factories to
produce lethal weapons of mass destruction like an atomic bomb. This horrible act of mass killing
was executed by a psychopath possibly referring to the then President of the USA, Harry S.
Truman who authorized the bombing on Japan. Land that no one needs for several years is a
reference to regions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were completely destroyed by the effects of

Stanza 5: The final stanza talks about the far simple and more direct methods to kill a man. The
poet says that methods described in the first four stanzas were too cumbersome. The simpler and
direct method to kill someone is by leaving the victim somewhere in the middle of the 20th
century. Here, Edwin Brock is referring to the miserable and tragic conditions which were prevalent
after the Second World War, which included poverty, hunger, malnutrition, diseases, religious
intolerance and joblessness. In such terrible conditions, man was already dying of pain every day in
order to survive.

Five Ways to Kill a Man focuses on the loss of humanity in man with every passing era. The poem
describes the methods used by man to kill other men for his own selfish motives. The first stanza
talks about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the second is about the medieval age, the third and
fourth stanzas talk about the First and Second World War, respectively. The poet wants to convey a
message through this poem. He wants to say that man has become devoid of emotions and
sympathy. Man has developed newer scientific methods which has made killing easier and faster.
People kill one another, physically or mentally to survive in the world today. Children are dying of
hunger, malnutrition and diseases. People have to endure pain in order to survive and therefore,
they are dying a slow death. Thus, the poem wants to highlight the fact that though man acquired
new methods to discover, create but the basic human tendency to kill remain unchanged.

Form and Language:

The poem is composed in free verse with no end rhyming scheme. The descriptions of the ways of
killing a man are chronologically arranged. Each stanza depicts one possible way to kill a man.
Every stanza except the last stanza consists of run-on lines. Run-on lines suggest that the rhythm
does not conform to any structure and is free flowing.
The poem is written in a simple language to describe the different ways to kill a man. The words
are used cold and blunt. The words used to describe the crucifixion of Christ depict the lack of
humanity and emotionless nature of man.

There are several allusions in the poem, Five Ways to Kill a Man.
The first stanza of the poem alludes to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is done by describing the
method by which Jesus was crucified. He was forced to carry a plank of wood up to Golgotha hill.

On the way, a big hostile crowd accompanied him and humiliated him. He was tortured and nailed
to the cross where he eventually died.
The second stanza refers to the Wars of Roses to illustrate how wars were fought for the sake of
crown and honour during the medieval age.
The third stanza refers to gas warfare in the First World War.
The fourth stanza refers to the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan
in August 1945, by the USA.

Poetical Devices:
Alliteration: The examples of the alliteration are as follows,*cock that crows
*hammer the nails home
*mile of mud
*black boots
*small switch
*much more

Assonance: Example of assonance is:

*bows and arrows

Personification: ..if the wind allows, blow gas at him is an example of fine personification in the