Dylan Essay

2640 words - 11 pages

The War Machine

Many Protest songs created during the Sixties often dealt with some aspect of the Vietnam War, whether themes dealt with ideas such as loss of life, brutality of war, wars based on political agendas and hypocritical governments, or many other aspects related to war, and its negative impact on society. Bob Dylan, a singer/songwriter most well known for his songs of protest, wrote several songs in protest of the Vietnam War. Dylan’s Song “Masters of War” is one such song of protest, but is unique in the way that the speaker of the song is not Dylan himself, but rather a young man, whose life is affected by the war first hand. This young man is likely a soldier who is ...view middle of the document...

What these masks symbolize is left to the listener of the song to decide, but it is clear that these maskes symbolize some form of deception, or hidden agenda that the masks wearers are guilty of. Those who build guns, war planes, and bombs for war have a level of deception about them. Why are they building these tools for war? What are they gaining? To answer this question, the young soldier also calls upon those who hide behind walls and desks, which are presumably those contracting and financing the makers of war tools. Those who sit behind desks and walls are likely to be political figures in any section of the government, such as army generals, commanders and even the president of the United States. These people also wear masks, masks of deception or hidden agendas. They give money to those building war tools, thus perpetuating the building of those tools, and the constant loss of life resulting from those tools usage.
In the second stanza, the young soldier calls out the same people as in the first, but by different names. He calls those that have “never done nothin’, but build to destroy” and blames them for “playing with [his] world like it’s their little toy.” The speaker of the song is claiming that those builders of war tools have done nothing in their lives but build weapons that are capable of destruction, and that are in fact used for destruction. The singer is also claiming that these people are playing with his world. He does not say our world, or their world, which is very significant. The significance of the word my is that it makes it a personal world to the soldier, or those who are facing wars ugliness first hand. He is asserting that those weapons manufacturers are playing with his world, as if it were a toy. What the speaker means by this phrase is that those creating the weapons for war do not live in the world of war. They are very much away from this world, but by manufacturing weapons for the war world, they are playing with this world. They are altering the world greatly, but without doing anything first hand. All they do “is put a gun in [soldiers] hand[s]” and then they “turn and run.” The soldier is expected to use the gun, not the gun maker, therefore he is not living in the soldier’s world, but greatly affecting its outcome IE: they are simply playing with a world that is not their own, and seemingly couldn’t care less about the consequences of their actions, or playing.
Now the speaker of the song is comparing these men and women to Judas, because they “lie and deceive” just as he has done. Judas is best known for his role in betraying Jesus, and just like Judas, these people lie, deceive and betray their people. Further in the stanza, listeners are told just what the lies told entail. He claims that they lie, making him believe that a “world war can be won” when clearly, according to the speaker it can not be won. The reason these people would want to lie in order to make...

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