W.H Auden’s poem “August 1968” captures the spirit of its time:

“The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach:
The Ogre cannot master Speech.

About a subjugated plain,
Among the desperate and slain,
The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
While drivel gushes from his lips.”

The poem is a critique of war. The Ogre is a representation of the militaristic: the rockets and the tanks. And the title of “August 1968” is a reference to the Vietnam War.

But Auden is wrong. The Ogre is not some physically, vile creature. He’s not an ugly monster, a la Shrek. He’s not a deformed soldier, running through the jungles with a rifle in his hand. He’s not strong.

The Ogre is a broken person. He (or she) is debased and jealous. He despises the happiness of others – he wants to destroy the beautiful. He want to soil the healthy marriage, or the profitable business.

The Ogre is a weakling.

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