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At this time, Alfred Tennyson was poet laureate and, as such, was the mouthpiece, via poetry, of the British establishment. This poem would, therefore, have to follow the official state line and, if he does, indeed, present a 'glorified view', then this might even be considered state propaganda.
Tennyson's poem was an almost immediate reaction to a 'Times' article, by W H Russell, which described the Light Brigade's charge, through a valley, towards heavily armed Russian troops, with 'cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them, cannon to the front of them'.
This poem is just one example of a huge range of poetry, prose and drama concerning war. Some is contemporary, often written by the soldiers, themselves; some has been written after the event, with knowledge of opinions that have been expressed over the years.
Most of it can be divided into two groups; pro-war sentimentalism or jingoism and anti-war realism. Tennyson's item is a thundering piece of verse. It is rousing and exciting to the ear. It was Wordsworth who indicated that someone reading or listening to a poem might be distracted by its rhyme and rhythm, which almost form a barrier to the words, so that the reader does not immediately register their meaning.
This appears to be what is happening when one hears this poem. It has an exciting, enjoyable fun-filled sound, which belies some of its content. Death and Other Effects of Battle? With the exception of 'death' itself, Tennyson gives his readers very little overt information on the effects of battle on soldiers.
In 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', Tennyson describes battle, itself, rather than the effects thereof. One might infer that the survivors may have suffered physical injury as a result of being 'stormed at by shot and shell' or of having horses fall on or under them.
Perhaps they were deafened by the cannon that 'volleyed and thundered' or had their eyes and lungs affected by 'the battery smoke'. Tennyson leaves his reading audience to imagine the mental and emotional effects of battle, but clues are given, when he likens the brigade's ride to battle as a journey into the 'valley of Death'.
This Biblical phrase occurs twice in the first stanza and is repeated in verse two. In verse three, where Tennyson describes those who remained alive and rode back, the terminology is changed slightly.
This time it states that they rode 'into the jaws of Death and 'into the mouth of Hell' and these phrases are repeated in verse 4. Again the initial letter of 'death' is capitalised, as is the 'H' of 'hell.
This is for impact. They should 'wonder' at this charge and should 'honour' those taking part. There are no horrific descriptions of death and suffering, so the reader is left to revere and respect the six hundred, rather than empathising or sympathising with them.
Does it give a glorified view of war?
The thumping, rhythmic temp, echoing the galloping hooves of the chargers, is alluring and has made this poem a great favourite over the years.
The metre is also reminiscent of drum beat. The exciting story of the charge, coupled with the attractive rousing beat and the talk of heroism and nobility does appear to give a glorified view.
The last stanza, in particular, asks 'when can their glory fade? It is theatrical and emotional. However, there are contradictions. The poem describes death and defeat. Indeed, Tennyson probably indicates that more men died than expired in reality. For a poem that glorified war, it was strange that Tennyson should ask; 'Was there a man dismayed?
First Impressions First impressions are of glory, excitement and heroism, but the underlying message, possibly unheard, is of pointless death, caused by erroneous and fatal stupidity, and an inability to question orders.
As poet laureate, during war-time, it would have been unwise for Tennyson, the voice of the establishment, to have been any more open about his criticisms. It might have caused problems at home, and with the troops, if this historic event had been acknowledged for the catastrophic mistake that it really was; it might even have been considered treason.
When the reader of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' hears the battle described thus: His mind does not immediately register that the shot soldier has fallen. The thundering rhythm has affected the reader's ability to take this in, clearly.
The poem describes the fate of six hundred men. The reader learns nothing of them as individuals.The Charge of the Light Brigade By Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I. Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, A new Manual Cinema video brings World War I poetry to life.
Read More. More Poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Break, Break, Break More About This Poem The Charge of the Light Brigade By Alfred, Lord Tennyson. men of the in the charge were killed or wounded. Britain entered the war, which was fought by Russia against Turkey, Britain and France, because Russia sought to control the Dardanelles.
To its admirers, the poem's a tribute to the Light Brigade's selfless courage: to its attackers, it's the sentimental glorification of war and empire.
The Charge of the Light Brigade War poetry is a theme that has inspired many poets. Compare and contrast poems by 2 poets from different eras and cultures. Say which one you prefer and why. As the brigade rode “back from the mouth of hell,” soldiers and horses collapsed; few remained to make the journey back.
The world marvelled at the courage of the soldiers; indeed, their glory is undying: the poem states these noble men remain worthy of honor and tribute today. The Description of the Glory and Hell of War in the Poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" PAGES 6.
WORDS 3, View Full Essay. More essays like this: Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University. Exactly what I needed. - Jenna Kraig, student @ UCLA.