• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"The charge of the light brigade" by Tennyson was written about a disastrous military escapade during the Crimean war.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The charge of the light brigade" by Tennyson was written about a disastrous military escapade during the Crimean war. The Crimean war was fought between Russia on one hand and Britain, France and Turkey on the other. The charge of the light brigade occurred in November 1854 at Balaclava in the Crimea. The Earl of Cardigan led the charge, and some six hundred cavalrymen took part in it. The brave 600 rode straight down a valley that was fortified at its end by many cannon served by Russian and Cossack gunners. The heroes were following confused orders from higher military authority as the rode into this "valley of death." Tennyson was appointed Poet Laureate by Queen Victoria in 1850, a job that was a much respected during the days of the Victorian Empire, unlike today, where it is simply awarded as a title. This poem was written retrospectively in commemoration of those who had died, "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon was written for a similar purpose, commemorating those who had died in the outbreak on world war one. The title explicitly tells us what the poem is about, "The charge of the light brigade." Each numbered verse of the poem describes a different part of events, so it is almost as if the poem is following a narrative like a story, with verse one establishing both setting and context. ...read more.

Middle

The repeated patterning of the use of "theirs" to start three consecutive rows is done to emphasise the position in which the soldiers have found themselves, and the sacrifice they will have to make. You cannot help but empathise with these men who are about to give their lives for the good of their country. Verse three begins with repeated patterning like at the end of verse two, this time to show the extreme danger of their situation, being totally surrounded by their enemies cannon fire"Cannon to the left of them, cannon to the right of them, cannon in front of them" The onomatopoeic phrase "volly'd and thunder'd" is used to give a sense on the actual sounds the soldiers were experiencing inside the valley. They are "storm'd at". This emphasises that it's a full on, 'take no prisoners' kind of attack. It comes across as being very intense, as if they are literally 'riding into the eye of the storm'. In the face of overwhelming odds and horror they are still described as riding "boldly". This emphasises their sheer heroism. "Into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell" This language is very simple yet at the same time manages to be very dramatic. Personification is used to make the threat seem even more menacing. The inevitability of the situation is emphasised, there is no way they will all come out of this alive. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is done because it is the same situation; in verse three they were fighting to get down the valley, now they are fighting for their lives trying to get back out of it. The poem ends by instructing us to honour the soldiers. The tone at the end of the poem is quite elevated, in comparison to the sombre tone with which it began. It could be described as an elegy because it remembers those who died, although it is more triumphant in tone than a typical elegy. Tennyson doesn't want us to focus on the dead, and does give details about the losses in the poem. His aim is to portray the courage of the men, not to give a realistic and detailed account of events. Although is refers slightly to military incompetence, this isn't a satirical poem. In a position of respect as poet Laureate, he could never have written a poem that put down the military establishment in the way later poets such as Siegfried Sassoon did in poems such as "base details" and "the general". Although the purpose of the poem is to commemorate the men who died courageously, I cannot help but feel annoyed at the lack of responsibility that is put upon the higher ranks of the military establishment for the tragic loss of life created by their mistake. I would hope that in our more liberal society today, we would never again allow such mistake to be made without questioning it. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Using the two poems, The Charge of the Light Brigade and the Destruction of ...

    this reminds the reader once again of how dangerous and stupid the charge had been. The last few lines are positioned at the end to keep the reader's mind on how brave and wonderful the Light Brigade were, "Honour the charge they made!

  2. Are knights and castles a sufficient explanation for Norman military success between 1066 and ...

    It would therefore seem that the Norman tactics in battle meant that military success was more likely.

  1. English Tennyson Coursework

    valley of death' it is getting us into the rhythm of the battle and the horses. The refrain line of this poem also gives this impression as it is 'rode the six hundred' this also shows the bravery of the soldiers and gives them a more superior feeling.

  2. Pre 1914 War Poetry - The Drum and Drummer Hodge analysed.

    The first two lines emphasise the youth of Drummer Hodge. 'Young', 'Hodge', 'Drummer' and 'Fresh' all relate to his tender age. 'Young' for obvious reasons, 'Hodge' is a young country labourer, the 'Drummer' in a group of soldiers is usually the youngest, and 'fresh' indicates that he is a new recruit, of which most are young.

  1. The popular myth of the Battle of Britain quickly emerged during the early part ...

    There is no need to be sensitive, because the students reading this article were not around at the time of the Battle. But there is a bite of exaggeration and the article is sensationalized, maybe to get the magazine to sell also he may want himself to become popular and well known.

  2. The Crimean War.

    Why did the Allies survive the battle of Balaclava? The battle of Balaclava lasted for most of the 25th of October 1854 and it was after dusk that the officers involved managed to return to their camps.4 Both sides suffered tremendous losses of both life and artillery, as guns and

  1. Saving Private Ryan Examine Steven Spielberg's use of images and Presentation of war. ...

    In the battle the death of the soldiers fallen comrades seem to have no effect on them. This shows there is no room for emotion in the middle of a battle. At the end of the battle Miller rests.

  2. Comparing and contrasting "The charge of the Light Brigade" and "The Defence of Lucknow" ...

    They had spies which informed them of the people with high authority and skills in the British army in order to set a structured plan. To be in the minority against such a force meant that the British were ready to become martyrs for their nation with pride as Tennyson explains in this poem.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work