Why do men feel they can justify death?~ Benjamin Martin

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Thomas Hardy's "The Man He Killed", is a poem that really brings its readers inside the mind of people who have been to war.  It shows how the narrator attempts to justify the actions he had to take, and experiences regret. 

As readers, we can see that the narrator attempts to justify himself, to himself and the reader, in the third stanza.  "I shot him dead because-/Because he was my foe."  The narrator stutters as he is trying to explain to his audience why he shot and killed the other soldier.  Some may find it odd that he needs to justify this, or that he is stuttering over it, but both of those factors show that the narrator realizes that he has, unfortunately, been forced to take the life of another human due to the circumstances and demands of war.

Through the majority of the poem, readers can see that the narrator is regretful of his actions.  The fourth stanza of the poem is entirely dedicated to the narrator realizing that the soldier he killed could have been just like him, "He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,/ Off-hand like--just as I--/ Was out of work--had sold his traps/ No other reason why."

Thomas Hardy makes it easy for his readers to see inside the thoughts of the narrator.  By doing this, he allows readers to see what it might be like inside of the mind of people how have had to go to war.

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