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Compare and contrast two different media treatment of the Charge of the Light Brigade..

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Compare and contrast two different media treatment of the Charge of the Light Brigade.. The Charge of the Light Brigade occurred on the 30th of November 1854 and the two different media treatments of this event which I will compare and contrast are: the poem - "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by the then poet laureate Lord Tennyson and the film regarding the same event by Tony Richardson. Firstly, the poem begins with the words, " Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the Valley of Death rode the six hundred ... " First of all, Lord Tennyson immediately makes us feel engaged within the event itself and we are introduced to this dactylic rhythm. This rhythm mimics a horses gait and is continued throughout the entire poem. It seems quite peculiar that he is using the measurement of a "league," because he could either be exaggerating the amount of land the horses had to cover, or he could be using it because it is a mythological measurement which could imply that the soldiers are involved in a heroic act by indeed 'riding on' into the "Valley of Death." Notice also that he uses the "Valley of Death" which is a biblical setting which could imply Christian hope or perhaps more likely, - the inevitability of death. ...read more.


Firstly, with "volley'd and thunder'd" he wants us to recognise the great level of noise present which suggests death. Then with, "Storm'd at with shot and shell," he uses alliteration to emphasise the sound which also suggests death. He wrote that they still rode on "boldly" into the "jaws of Death" and into the "mouth of Hell," and he uses imagery very effectively here as we picture them vividly riding to their deaths bravely and with acceptance. Here, the emphasis is very much on death and the courage of the men. The poem goes on to end with, "Noble six hundred!" which is a clear indication of what Tennyson wanted us remember about the men. He leaves this right at the end so that we remember it and so that we remember them as noble and brave. Richardson's film starts off with a row between Captain Nolan and Lord Lucan as there is tension between the people who are responsible for the men. Here, there is a wide-screen shot of the soldiers, and then a long distance shot of them which show them to be pawns of those standing on higher ground looking down on them. In the next scene, Lord Raglan is seen to be unsure of himself. There are traces of age catching up with him as he has to sit down. ...read more.


Richardson then superbly contrasts this with a shot of the ongoing picnic and of the women who are far from the death and violence present below them. The men's regalia at the beginning is of the film is of a superb and glorious red while at the end, they are of a muddy brown. After all this, we see the Lord's in a sequence of blaming - with Raglan eventually blaming his aide de camp with him claiming that the handwriting present on his message wasn't his (which it obviously wasn't because he had someone write his orders). The film ends with a shot of a rotting horse - with the buzzing of several flies. Overall, I think that the poem and the film both have their strengths and witnesses. They are both undoubtedly biased and they were both made with the hope of conveying a certain message (the poem's being to glorify the efforts of the soldiers, the film's being to bring to attention the incapability of those who led the men). The poem starts off in the middle of the charge whereas the film begins before the charge in order to show the weaknesses and foolishness of those 'behind the scenes.' The endings are both entirely different, with the poem ending with, "Noble six hundred!" and the film ending with the image of a rotting horse. It is clear that even if both these forms of media representation were about the same event; their messages completely differ from each other. ...read more.

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