How Does Millay Use Personification of Death to Convey Her Views on War?

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How Does Millay Use Personification of Death To Convey Her Views On War? 23.04.12 In the poem Conscientious Objector, Death is shown in a number of ways. In some aspects he is shown as a horseman and in other places he is shown as a beast and not entirely human. In this essay I will explain how the personification of Death shows Millay’s views on war. In the first stanza, Millay immediately shows her stance with death. The whole poem starts with her showing her defiance with “That is all I shall do for death.” What this shows is that Millay knows people will die, and everyone will face it but they should not help death by killing. This applies to war because the whole point of war is to destroy the opposition, so by not helping death by killing, war can be avoided. In the next part, it says “I hear him leading his horse out of the stall.” This shows that Death must be very wealthy as to own a horse as they take a lot of expense to look after. However what it also shows is that death is dependent. Even something like a horse shows that Death needs something to help Him to travel to his victims. Therefore he is not entirely independent and invincible. This applies to war because people are helping Death by killing each other and therefore making it easier for Death. Millay is suggesting here that Death is dependent and we can weaken him by not helping Him, for instance with war where everyone is killing. Another point of being a horseman could be suggesting about the apocalypse of the end of the world. It is suggested that at the end of the world there will be four horsemen who will be conquest, famine, war and death. This is shown in the Bible in the last book of the New Testament. At the time Britain would have been a largely Christian society so Millay is connecting religiously with people.

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