How does the poet show a common man’s view regarding war in the poem After Blenheim by Robert Southey?
Robert Southey has brilliantly conveyed a common man’s perspective of war in his poem ‘After Blenheim’. Here Old Kaspar represents the common people who holds an idealistic view of war. He believes that war is all about heroism and patriotism. Though a lot of lives and property were lost in the Battle of Blenheim, it is still a ‘great’ and ‘famous’ victory to Kaspar. We hear him say —
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.
It is a great irony that Kaspar holds his view of a famous victory though he does not know what good the war brought to the common people.
‘Why that I cannot tell,’ said he,
‘But ’twas a famous victory.’
But this is not a fault of common people themselves. The heroic ideals of war is a propaganda that the warmongers have indoctrinated in people. The poet’s aim is to show the contrast between this idealistic view of war and the ground reality of death and destruction. And he has done that very well.