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Alfred Lord Tennyson - Discuss the poets' different attitudes to war, as presented in The Charge Of The Light Brigade and Exposure

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Introduction

Lizzy Archer Discuss the poets' different attitudes to war, as presented in The Charge Of The Light Brigade and Exposure A more experienced poet known as Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote the Charge Of The Light Brigade. He was born in 1809 and died of old age in 1892. He wrote The Charge Of The Light Brigade in response to a Newspaper Report from the Times, which was written by W.H.Russel, so his understanding of the war was from second hand knowledge, he was removed from the action. Unlike Wilfred Owen, who wrote Exposure. Owen was born in 1893 and died at a very young age in 1918. The reason for his young death was, he was a participant in the war and died during battle, so his was writing from his own experiences. Although Owen was a less experienced writer, his poems only really became known after his death, as he had a less authorative voice. The main similarities between the two poems is that they are both writing about wars, however both wars are from a different time and so are fought in completely different ways. Tennyson wrote The Charge Of The Light Brigade about the Crimean war, which was originally between France and Russia but Britain joined because she worried about her security. The Crimean war was fought on horseback, which meant that it would be over fairly quickly. I think this because it would have been one charge, this battle would then have gone on until all the soldiers in one side were injured or dead. He was very far removed from the action, as he didn't even witness the war, so his poem written is third hand. ...read more.

Middle

In The Charge Of The Light Brigade the first noticeable and most repeated image is "All in the valley of death". I think that Tennyson choose to describe the charge like this because death is a very moving word. The word "all" unites the soldiers and due to the image of the extreme danger, given by the word death, shows the soldiers bravery, it also gives the idea of a big sacrifice. Not only do we get the feeling of danger, but Tennyson also discreetly describes sounds, through the use of onomatopoeia, "Volleyed and thundered". I think that this is really clever, as it adds realism to the poem. When Tennyson uses alliteration, the words he uses sound like the hissing of the artillery on the battlefield. An example of this is "Stormed at with shot and shell". Tennyson uses euphemism to describe the British soldiers killing the enemy; he uses words like "flashed" and "sabring". The British soldiers are basically killing people, but the way Tennyson describes it, it's as if they are doing it elegantly and almost gracefully. All of these images give the main picture that the war was glorious. The reason we get this image of the war is because Tennyson hides the realities behind euphemism, unlike Owen who shows the war for what it really is. Right from the first word "our" we immediately know that it has been written from the point of view of the narrator. Owen gives a very chilling image to the war because he has experienced it, he can say what he has seen and felt. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reason for The Charge Of The light Brigade using euphemism and Exposure using realism, is because each writer is trying to give a different image of the war, for different reasons using these methods. In conclusion both poems appear to be very similar when I first looked at them, however the only thing they have in common is that they are both about wars. The reason they only have this in common is for two reasons. The first reason is that both wars were completely different types of wars. The second reason and the most important, is that the writers show different attitudes towards war. In Charge Of The Light Brigade Tennyson wrote the poem to honour and glorify the soldiers that fought in the war. So the way he presents the poem, it's as if Tennyson is saying that war is good thing to part of. I think the other reason for him putting such a positive image on the war was because he didn't fight in it, therefore there are no feelings included in his poem. So because Tennyson approves of the soldiers loyalty there are no signs of irony. Where as in Exposure Owen, who fought in the war, is able to include feelings. Due to having such a horrible time in the trenches, these feelings are sad and seem painful, putting war in a completely different light. Unlike Owen, Tennyson believed that no good could come from war, and although Owen is against war Exposure isn't an anti-war poem. However the one attitude that both writers show in their poems, is that you have to fight sometimes to preserve what is good. ...read more.

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