When the first world war ended, many people at the time may have thought that it was the end to the bloodbath. Men and women, who lost their sons, daughters, friends and lovers to the war, must have hoped that the world would never plunge into such darkness again.

“Snow is a strange word;

No ice or frost

Have asked of bud or bird

For Winter’s cost.

Yet ice and frost and snow

From earth to sky

This Summer land doth know,

No man knows why.

In all men’s hearts it is.

Some spirit old

Hath turned with malign kiss

Our lives to mould.

Red fangs have torn His face.

God’s blood is shed.

He mourns from His lone place

His children dead.

O! ancient crimson curse!

Corrode, consume.

Give back this universe

Its pristine bloom.”

This is a poem by Isaac Rosenberg. He was 28 when he died during the first world war. If you can tell from the poem, all he wanted was for the war to end. For the world to have its “pristine bloom” back. To have peace and life back.

“I never joined the army for patriotic reasons. Nothing can justify war. I suppose we must all fight to get the trouble over.” – he had written in a personal letter.

For him, the war ended only with his death. Had he survived, he would have seen yet another war, one of the deadliest yet, in the history of mankind.

Yes, a war definitely ends eventually, but one can never tell when the next war will begin. This is what Plato (or whoever wrote it) meant – that one will see the end of war only in death.

People who live in conflict zones, for them, every day is a battle. One bombing barely ends when the rattle of another strike shatters their neighborhood again. Only death gives them an end. At least, this is what my interpretation is.

My Answer to Quora Question – What does Plato mean when he says “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”?

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Here’s a poetry themed episode from the show –