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The Charge of the Light Brigade Essay

He was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire and he remains one of the most popular British poets In 1855, Tennyson produced one of his best known works, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, a dramatic tribute to the British soldiers involved in a charge on 25 October 1854, during the Crimean War. Tennyson used a wide range of sources ranging from medieval legends to classical myths and from domestic situations to observations of nature, as part of the material for his poetry to give him ideas. The poem is written by Tennyson from the events in the poem. This gives the poem quality. It also reflects the feelings of the people reading newspaper reports in Britain at that time.

The Charge of the Light Brigade tells us of the glory of war, despite the fact that, six hundred soldiers were sent to their death.

The poem tells the story of a brigade involving soldiers who rode on horseback into the “valley of death” for half a league (about one and a half miles).

The rhyme scheme varies with each stanza. Tennyson often uses the same rhyme and occasionally the same final word for several lines: “Flashed all their sabres bare / Flashed as they turned in air / Sab’ring the gunners there.” The poem also uses the same word repeated at the beginning of several lines: “Cannon to right of them / Cannon to left of them / Cannon in front of them.”

Imagery is one of the techniques which Tennyson uses to build the conflict up as a picture to let the audience visualise the conflict on the battlefield. He talks about the dangers the light brigade are up against as well as enemies, ‘cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them, cannon in front of them.’ The repetition of the phrase ‘cannon’ creates a picture in the audience’s mind of the cannons and dangers the light brigade are up against. This is a sense of outer conflict due to the fact that they are cavalry men with spears up against guns and cannons.

In addition to this construction of imagery in the audience’s mind Tennyson uses metaphors to describe the walk of the light brigade into their deaths. ‘Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred’, The phrase valley of death indicates that the army is going to die, how ever the inner confliction here is that the army knows they are going to die, they almost walk into valley of death. The valley of death is a monument or a place where many others have fallen. This line is then repeated at the end of every stanza but is varied eventually towards the end of the poem.


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