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Charge of the light brigade poem and film comparison

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Introduction

The charge of the Light Brigade "Compare the portrayal of the charge of the Light Brigade in Tennyson's poem and Tony Richardson's film sequence of the same event." The charge of the Light Brigade took place during the Crimean War of 1853 - 1856, when Britain, France and Turkey were fighting Russia for the control of some land in Crimea. This particular charge was made by the Light Brigade, a battalion composed of fleet, light cavalry; designed to quickly break the ranks of an opposing force, and they were adept at dashing in to deal light damage. The attack was meant to secure some cannons that had been recently stolen by the enemy; and Lord Raglan, the overall commander of the British forces, gave the order for the Light Brigade to charge for the cannons. Unfortunately, a mistake was made with the order, and a young Captain Nolan, in his haste to get Lord Cardigan and Lord Lucan to execute the order, pointed to a different valley to the one they were intending to charge. Cardigan was slightly shocked by this, but nonetheless went ahead with the charge - even though in the valley fixed guns awaited their charge; and as Cardigan remarked to Lucan, "It is against all practices of war to have cavalry charge fixed guns." ...read more.

Middle

When the film camera changes from the Light Brigade to the leaders, who are safe on top of a nearby hill, it almost seems as if we have been transported away to a different place, far from where the compact, ready Light Brigade have been stationed, for they do not ever appear to be troubled or concerned at all by the war, as while their guns are being towed away, one of them is talking to a woman about her position in this war; and that he thought women should be dealing with 'pretty things'. This seems worrying that he should be almost chatting to the woman, while their guns were being stolen, and the Light Brigade was needed to mobilize and attack the enemy to regain the use of their cannons. All the way through this extract, the film attempts to get you to look up to, and admire the young people, such as Captain Nolan and the Light Brigade itself - and this reflects the time at which this piece of film was created. All the time, Richardson is subtly trying to side us against the established elders, affecting what we think of them, by portraying them as inefficient and incompetent. ...read more.

Conclusion

At first we may interpret this as courage, and think him a very brave man - but as the attack continues we start to see him under a different light. He does not seem bothered at all by all the gunshots and explosions around him, as if he does not care what happens to him during the charge. Gradually, we see the Light Brigade battered, until they burst through to the fixed cannons, and there they brilliantly attack the Russians, proving that the Light Brigade would be worthy of such a task if not for the sprawling guns present. A retreat is called, however, and the severely reduced brigade staggers and stumbles back to it's own territory - only to be greeted by a cacophony of old men arguing over whose fault the incident is. The Light Brigade was wounded and shattered, but all they could think about was with whom the blame was placed upon. Both the poem and film portray something of what happened on the day the Light Brigade charged, but also include something of the time in which they were produced in - Tennyson's poem does not address the issue of blame, and tries to keep up the country's morale, whereas Richardson's film shows characteristics from the 1960's, where they began to question their establishment. ...read more.

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