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Compare attitudes to war in 'Charge of the light brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson and 'Conquerors' by Henry Treece.

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Introduction

'Charge of the light brigade' is a poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson. The queen appointed him Poet Laureate and so therefore this poem is very patriotic and describes the soldiers as heroes and doesn't go into detail about how they died and doesn't use gruesome details because he's trying to keep the moral up. 'Conquerors' though is the opposite. It is a poem written by Henry Treece who was actually in the war and he recollects when he came back from fighting and came across a small abandoned village where he illustrates the destruction of war and how it affects innocent people. Therefore this poem highlights the negative impacts and is propaganda against the war. 'Charge of the light brigade' is about the Crimean war in southern Russia and it outlines both the heroism and obedience of the troops but also the stupidity of war. He wrote this poem for people to remember this famous event but also not to forget the lessons that should be learnt from it, the destruction of mistaken orders. But also to boost the moral and letting people at home know what's going on. He did this by writing the poem as a ballad with simple stanzas, with simple language with regular rhyme and rhythm. In the first few lines of the first verse the phrase 'half a league' is repeated three times one after another because it gives the image of galloping on horses which is what they're doing. ...read more.

Middle

Verse 5 is very similar to verse three in that exact lines are repeated "cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them" but in the third verse it tells us there was a "cannon in front of them" but the difference in the fifth verse is that there was a "cannon behind them" this then shows us without telling that the soldiers are now fleeing and have turned around. The verse also uses past tense such as 'fought', which tells us they're not fighting anymore and changes the lines "into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell" from the third verse, into "came through the jaws of death, back from the mouth of hell" that shows they are returning. In the final verse Tennyson is very complimentary about the soldiers, asking, "When can their glory fade?" which is patriotic, and tells us to "honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade". This then indicates we should honour the soldiers but not war, for the soldiers were just told what to do and should not be blamed for their own death. The last line is then patriotic to end the poem with "Noble six hundred" again praising the soldiers but saying nothing of the generals and therefore boosting moral and making people want to join the forces not because they wish to die but to have a life to be proud of and people to honour them. ...read more.

Conclusion

For at the time you do not think of anything else and you are ignorant of side effects. On lines fifteen and sixteen Treece exposes that 'not one amongst us would have eaten bread before he'd filled the mouth of the grey child' and this presents that the soldiers didn't want to cause this suffering even though they did because they fought, but were oblivious to what was happening to non-fighting citizens. The last line 'there was not one who did not think of home' gives you an idea that the men are not only homesick but also hoping nothing as devastating as this has happened at their home, to their families. The poem ends gloomily trying to make you think about the negative aspects and dire consequences of war but also that war doesn't just end when the fighting stops but leaves a dark shadow of suffering for a long time after. And the title 'Conquerors' uses irony in that conquerors usually springs happiness to mind but this poem shows what people do to become 'conquerors'. Here then we have two very different poems, but with the same subject because they were written for two different reasons. 'Charge of the Light Brigade' being written by the poet laureate is patriotic and meant to promote high moral whereas 'Conquerors' is written by Treece who has experienced the horrors first hand and wants to make people more aware of wars consequences. Poetry Appreciation Rhian Atkins 10t-Mrs Penry ...read more.

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