A god in wrath
Was beating a man;
He cuffed him loudly
With thunderous blows
That rang and rolled over the earth.
All people came running.
The man screamed and struggled,
And bit madly at the feet of the god.
The people cried,
“Ah, what a wicked man!”
And —
“Ah, what a redoubtable god!”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem A god in wrath


  1. John McEvoy says:

    It’s all about the war on Gaza.

    Crane wasn’t a poet as much as a prophet.

  2. Sornen says:

    To me its about righteous anger and how wrong we are when we act in “wrath” just because society can justify it.
    Another interpretation i have leans toward the oppressiveness of authoritarianism. People support a wrong for fear of rebuke or punishment by the powers that be

  3. Christina says:

    I’m surprised by the number of posters who interpret this poem as religious in a traditional sense. It seems evident that Crane is questioning either a God who can abuse his people or the invented idea of a God who can abuse his people. When taken in context of other poems, such as “The Sins of the Father,” Crane indicates the rebellion of a naturalist against proscribed religious doctrine of his time. Crane and other naturalists like Twain were not shy about exposing hypocrisy of biblical interpretation.

  4. Laura says:

    What is particularly interesting is the inequality of the God and the man…it becomes an abuse for the God to touch the man, th man can’t retreat, is struck with “thunderous” blows and must contend with merely biting at the feet of the God

  5. Sarah says:

    I think G-d is suppose to represent someone, but not
    G-d Him/Herself. To me it seems soemone is being treated very badly by someone they feel is G-d or so much higher than them they might as well be G-d. for example, a boss or an abusive parent. The people who witness this re probably too scared to question this authority figure and that’s why they say what they say. That’s how i interpret it.

  6. Jen says:

    It could be published post-humourously, just an idea. Also, Reebeka, thanks for embodying the sanctimonious narrow-minded bigotry that one interpretation of this poem scorns!

  7. natalie says:

    it says this poems been written/published in 1905…funny cuz stephan crane died in 1900

  8. Sarah says:

    There are several ways to look at this…
    First it seems as if God has finally captured the Devil and is beating him.

    Next it maybe that he is describing the media and something that may have affected himself. Since most of his poems were things that happened to him.

    Third it shows that the people are only saying that god is doing something right because he is god. They have no idea what the underlying circumstances are and are assuming that he has done something wrong.

    Anyone have some suggestions?

  9. Reebeka says:

    how could he write a poem like that he is deeply disturbed. Mike u r a dick and i look down upon u

  10. Mike says:

    I really liked this poem…it shows how people love a good spectacle. a God against a man is obviously an unfair match…no one bothers to ask what the man did, they just assume he deserves it and that the god is right. he’s a big bully…which is just how our society, namely the media, works……he may not have intended it that way…but its my interpretation

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