Parable of the Old Man and the Young Wilfred Owen

Parable of the Old Man and the Young Wilfred Owen

The Parable of the old man and the young by Ben Flowers

In the poem "The parable of the old man and the young", the author, Owen Wilson, is trying to communicate how the government is arrogant, brutal and stubborn. He expresses these opinions by warping a bible story, the story of Abraham and Isaac, whereby making the government/military take on the role of Abraham and the son, Isaac, the men of England, there is a further character, the ram, this is supposed to represent the pride of the military/government.

In the biblical taradiddle Isaac is given the instruction from god to sacrifice his son, for him, this was only a test and once God saw that Abraham was about to do it, he sent an angel with a ram, for Abraham to sacrifice instead. This account shows the mercy of God. This tale was changed by Owen using the same style but with a different moral message and subsequently is a parody, with the now warped story in place, Owen changed the story to read that God sent the old man (Abraham i.e. the military) a Ram (The pride of the military) to sacrifice instead of Isaac (The youth of Europe), Abraham acts stubbornly and kills Isaac anyway.

This means that the government could have stopped the war and sacrificed its pride, but instead chose to send countless men to their deaths instead, acting in a stubborn, arrogant and brutal manner.

The sheer mass of lives wasted on a futile cause, is on a massive scale this is emphasized by Owen "but slew his son and half the seed of Europe" half the seed of Europe, means that because men were considered the workers and so brought food home to the family, seeds bloom and give off fruit etc… this also refers to that and the sheer scale in which this atrocity took place.

In the last line Owen refers to the government sending men to be slain "one by one" the use of repetition suggests a very robotic and methodical approach to the way in which it sent men to certain demise. The government...

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