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A Critical Analysis of

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Introduction

A Critical Analysis of "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and explain its importance to Victorian Society. This particular poem deals with the unfortunate mistake of Battle of Balaclava in 1854. In an attempt to retrieve their stolen firearms, the British, lead by Lord Raglen, took their light cavalry to the innocent Turkish territory, rather than the guilty Russians. In self-defence Turkey protect themselves by attacking the British troops causing hundreds of deaths but "not, not the six hundred". Tennyson uses various techniques to involve the reader more personally. He uses this to emphasise the pain and suffering felt by the soldiers so the reader can really appreciate the physical defeat but the emotional victory from the "noble six hundred". The use of onomatopoeia in poems is generally used to make the situation more realistic. Although the same applies in this instance, Tennyson adds aural imagery to seem as if the reader is actually at the battle listening to everything being "shatter'd" and "thunder'd". ...read more.

Middle

Although the troops knew "some one had blunder'd", they did not question it. He wants to show that even though a person is higher, richer or more powerful than other they can still be vulnerable in making errors. This questions Victorian authority and whether they are making the right decision concerning the lives of British people. Poets in the twentieth century have also taken this argument into account most namely in Siegfried Sassoon's "The General" where their leader is described as "an incompetent swine". The repetition of "six hundred" as the final line of each stanza is significant. Instead of saying "many men" he shows that he regards the troops as individuals rather than a herd of men. The first three cantos have the line, "Rode the six hundred", but as the battle commences and concludes there an obvious change. In the fourth stanza we see "not, not the six hundred" is used. The repeating of "not" is noteworthy because it emphasises the amount of death did not run just in double figures, but is uncountable in its sheer tragic circumstance. ...read more.

Conclusion

The use of a diameter and dactylic is to create a suitable rhythm, which is similar to that of a knight and horse galloping and falling. This image of a knight boldly galloping can be linked to that of Lancelot in "The Lady of Shalott". Although one is myth and the other is real the definition of "bravery" is universal. The length of each stanza varies form six to twelve lines. The six stanzas and six lines reflect the "six hundred" soldiers. The altering stanza length echoes the varying number of soldiers left. The first three stanzas have nine lines and their last line is "Rode the six hundred" whereas the last three stanzas are all different with different endings. Throughout the poem we notice Tennyson's distaste for war. However he has made the battle itself rather exaggerated to show that war is not all about victory, bravery or patriotism, but death, blood and loss. He does, nevertheless, respect the soldiers involved and tries to make the reader appreciate the huge level of loss made by the mistake by one, somewhat more powerful man. 1 Varun Khanna ...read more.

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