The violence that took place during the Spanish War of Independence had a great impact on Goya and led him to take up drawing, sketching and printing—which he had been unable to do while receiving official commissions—once again. This private artistic undertaking was cathartic for Goya as it allowed him to express pain and anguish in the face of brutality, suffering and death.
In Y son fieras [And They Are Like Wild Beasts], a woman who is holding a child stabs a solider with a spear, forcing him to the ground. A little further in the background, another woman is on the ground with a dagger in her hand. Several figures are entangled in a fierce battle. On one side, a third woman is about to throw a large rock she holds over her head. On the other, a man who is facing sideways aims at a woman who is thrusting her sword into a French soldier. The diagonal lines produce a strong sense of instability and movement, contributing to the impression conveyed by the scene as a whole, that of a battle royale, a fervent and irrational mass of violence.