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Compare and contrast views of war in Tennyson’s “The Charge Of The Light Brigade” and Owen’s “The Send Off”

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Introduction

Compare and contrast views of war in Tennyson's "The Charge Of The Light Brigade" and Owen's "The Send Off" Heroism in war has always been a poetic subject, and will always produce varied responses. We will analyse two examples of these varied responses, to study the varied outlooks. Tennyson, on the one hand, presents war as a time of courage and idealistic heroism, in his poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade". In direct contrast with this, Owen takes a much darker prospective as shown in his poem "The Send-off". He presents a view of the hopeless feeling of these soldiers being shipped off to war which they are unlikely to return from. Both poems will be compared in relation to their views on heroism in war, in the course of this essay. ...read more.

Middle

Tennyson insists we honour this heroism "Honour the charge they made/ Honour the Light Brigade/ Noble six hundred". His ideas of their fearlessness and heroism are further developed in the lines "There is not to make reply/ There is not to reason why/ There is but to do and die". These men knew they were going to die, but they charged anyway. In response to this poem, we also "wonder'd" of the brilliance of the brigade who left an army of Russians and Cossacks "Shatter'd and Sunder'd" In direct comparison with Tennyson, Owen does not hold the same heroic views of war. This is clear from the first line, "Down the close and darkening lanes" creating the feeling of imminent death and increasing claustrophobia. Although we are told the men "Sang their way", this is just an image, we are not persuaded. ...read more.

Conclusion

Owen creates a sinister atmosphere with the alliteration of the two "s" in "So secretly, like wrongs hushed up." The government is attempting to hide these men from the public aye, but Tennyson does the exact opposite. Owen feels he must expose this betrayal. Owen strongly believed in the morale aspect of poetry, he felt he could have an effect upon society through his poetry. Despite their many differences, they both agree that it is in times of war that men face their darkest hour. Both show images of the men travelling to hell and back. "Into the jaws of death/ Into the mouth of hell". It is clear Tennyson and Owen have many very contrasting views on war heroism. For Tennyson, it is a time of sheer heroism in the face of hopeless odds. For Owen, it is a view of the hopelessness felt by the soldiers being methodically shipped of to be, most likely, killed. ...read more.

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