What Literary Devices Were Used in “The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy?

Thomas Hardy uses the literary devices of imagery, irony and repetition in his poem, “The Man He Killed.” These devices help the poet express his anti-war sentiments.

Imagery is a device Hardy utilizes in the poem when he imagines meeting his foe in a pub. The image of two men bumping into each other in a pub is quite different than two men crossing paths in a war zone. The contrast is severe, but it allows readers to see the poet’s point of view. The irony of this image is the fact that the poet would not have killed the same man in a pub. This image helps readers understand the absurdity of war.

Repetition is another device in the poem that illustrates how the poet is trying to convince himself that killing the man was the right thing to do. The poet mentions the fact that the man was a foe more than once, and he mentions the act of shooting the gun more than once. The repetition reminds the reader that the two men were in a war, not a bar, and this justifies the act. The poet must resort to such tactics help bolster his anti-war beliefs.