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How does Tennyson show his attitudes towards war, society and soldiers in his poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade"?

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Introduction

How does Tennyson show his attitudes towards war, society and soldiers in his poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade"? Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1809 - 1892, was a poet Laurete from England. Tennyson's famous poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is about a brave and heroic, but deadly charge in the Crimean war. Tennyson's views on war are highly anti-war. Tennyson was paid to write the poem by the government, he never actually fought in the Crimean war himself, yet his primary focus is on how soldier's were treated, as they were ordered to charge in to certain death, which is what a person who might have fought in a war would've focused on. The Charge of the Light Brigade's stanzas, except the 6th are of almost equal length and structure. The entire rhythm of the poem brings the sound of horses' feet, which fits in marvellously with the poem and the story behind it. ...read more.

Middle

The rhetorical question, "Was there a man dismay'd?" asks the reader if a soldier was unsure about what they were about to do was right. Tennyson expresses the fact even more deeply that soldiers really had no control over their orders with arguably the three most famous lines in the poem, "Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die" this explains that Tennyson thinks that solders' lives were not important to the officers, and that they were to do what they were ordered to or die. Tennyson again ends the stanza with "rode the six hundred" emphasising the image. The third stanza opens with "Cannons***** giving the image that they had charged in without a thought, but were completely surrounded. This shows Tennyson's feelings for the soldiers and how alone they really were as the officers sat in safety. In the quote, "Storm'd at with shot and shell" Tennyson has used alliteration to emphasise the "shhh" sound shells and shots would make, showing the fear in the soldiers, but who do not show it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stanza five is a huge emphasis on all Tennyson has written, he picks out some of the most powerful lines and puts them in to a stanza, while adding some more truly powerful lines, such as, "While horse and hero fell" shows Tennyson referring to the soldiers as heroes, showing how brave he thinks they are. Tennyson ends the verse by repeating the common metaphors "the Mouth of Hell" and "Jaws of Death", but this time how the survivors came back. Tennyson again powerfully ends the stanza with, "All that was left of them, Left of the six hundred" Again, showing how many lost their lives at this battle. In the last stanza, Tennyson focuses formally on the soldiers, their bravery and how, to him, they will never die, but live on in honour and memories, using direct language as if telling us to remember them too. "Honour the charge they made. Honour the Light Brigade. Noble six hundred" ...read more.

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