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'The Charge of the light Brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson and 'Attack' by Siegfried Sassoon are two very dissimilar poems.

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POETRY COURSEWORK ' The Charge of the light Brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson and 'Attack' by Siegfried Sassoon are two very dissimilar poems. Both of them are on the same topic of war but have many contrasts in how they treat the subject matter, war. The main difference between these two poems is the audience that they were written for. Tennyson, as poet laureate, was written for public reading, but Sassoon's work which showed more emotion and feeling, was therefore more of a private poem. The poems' tone and mood are very different. Tennyson's poem is a triumphant, victorious and celebratory poem. This is because the Victorians did not want to read about defeat, as it was not considered honourable, so Tennyson praises the men who died in the charge. He writes, "Boldly they rode and well," and, "While horse and hero fell." Tennyson also tells us that they were fearless and did everything without query. " Theirs not to make reply. Theirs not to reason why." ...read more.


Anaphora is the repetition of certain words or words to obtain a rhythmic pattern. In this historic war, the men charged at the enemy guns on horseback, so this repetition in Tennyson's opening lines could be associated with the sound of galloping horses. Tennyson uses this again when he writes, "Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon in front of them." Tennyson also uses rhetorical questions in his poem, for example, "Was there a man dismay'd?" and " When can their glory fade?" These are questions to which no answer is required, and add dramatic effect to the poem. Then he uses the phrase, " The Valley of Death," to describe the valley in which the charge took place. This phrase is taken from the Bible ( Psalm 23). In other translations of the Bible ( The Good News Bible), it is translated as, 'the deepest darkness'. Tennyson uses it with dramatic effect as if the men were ordered to go into the ' deepest darkness' to charge down the cannons. ...read more.


The layouts of the poems are also very different. Tennyson's poem is set out in the form of five verses with different lengths. Sassoon's poem is set out in the form of a curtailed sonnet ( a sonnet usually has fourteen lines. ' Attack has thirteen lines.) The two poems are written from two points of view, and have very different purposes. Tennyson is reflecting on an event that had happened ten years beforehand and an event that he himself was not involved him. He was writing to commemorate those that had died during the charge. By the way he has written the poem, he seems to think that war was very honourable, even in defeat Sassoon however had experienced war, and really knew what it was like to be in the front line, ( unlike Tennyson). The purpose of his poem was to tell people what war was really like. How it was frightening and sad. He clearly and blatantly had a negative view of war, as he says in his last line, "O Jesus, make it stop!" and thinks of war as dishonourable and futile, " And hope with furtive eyes and grappling fists, flounders in the mud." CORMAC SMYTH 11G ...read more.

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