The poem “The Field of Waterloo” take us on the journey of how war effects its surrounding nature and murders its miniature creatures and showing us the consequences of its actions where as “The castle” is an allegorical poem telling us the story of an invasion on a castle with the hidden message of human greed and weaknesses leading to our own downfall.
Both poems are very different to each other in many ways however hold a similar theme of vulnerability and attack of inhabitants however they are both treated in very different ways. “The Field of Waterloo” can represent any battle field but in particular I feel this poem represents the Battle of Waterloo fought in 18th June 1815, a battle fought for blood and honour. The poem reflects on the consequences of war on nature, how man is the main enemy of nature and how it is mankind who is most feared. t is a vivid description of the action that takes place on a battle field yet is written in such a clever way that the impressions create the image of war in the readers head instead of stating the obvious and stating the machinery “crushed by wheels” or horses being recognised by “hoofs”, a similar technique is used in the poem “The castle” however the use of imagery is not used but the message is hidden behind the words and only revealed to us in the final stanza.
The message of human weakness and greed, the message of how trusting the wrong people may lead to our downfall reminding me of the life of celebrities and how they have no privacy due to the constant media attention. How if they let their guard down as did the castle villagers they are exposed, exposed to the attackers wishing to hurt them and they can do nothing, they are in such a vulnerable state they can only sit back and wait to be attacked.
Influence of old folk tales can be used in Hardys choice of dialect and old English, use of alternative rhyming and his verses linking together combines the entire poem making each stanza almost like a long sentence adding simplicity, the poem was influenced by the manner of speech at the country side which compares to Muirs use of writing his poem as an almost childlike story, use of simple rhyming adds to the innocence of the poem making it easier to read and understand. Field of waterloo” portrays human ruling and mass destruction a global level, showing the bigger picture, we witness nature flee from the battle ground as “Swallows abandon the helmet roofs” the killing of nature reflects the killing of the next generation, the killing of the larks eggs, showing the venerability and innocence something so delicate and insignificant to man so it is destroyed during the combat. This represents to me the killing of young men in the war, young people aged 18-24 sent away to war and stripping them of purity and training them to murder and spread blood.
Vaulrability is also shown in the poem by the snails, as the “draw in” to their shells to protect themselves only to be crushed by man, his death in vain. Creatures that didn’t want to die, that didn’t need to die, at the mercy of a bigger power and being unable to fight it. Hardy writes in present tense, taking us on the journey of every animal, each a line long, showing the shortness of their lives. The portrayal of innocence contrasts to that of “the castle” as in this poem vulnerability is shown by betrayal, the attacking forces were let into the castle by the gate, the gate which was personified.
Human processions and reliability on them in the main theme of this poem and where as “the field of waterloo” shows physical attack of its inhabitants this poem shows the emotional and mental attack, the true message behind the poem being we cannot fight our inner demons, we have no machinery that can do this for us, we may feel that we are above emotions however they shall always surface and our greed and selfishness will always lead to our destruction. I prefer “The castle” to “The field waterloo” as i felt it was easier to read and was more relatable to, I liked its simplistic tone and language and overall its storyline and layout.