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Poetic Analysis Of 'the Charge Of The Light Brigade' By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

989 words - 4 pages

The disastrous cavalry charge during the Battle of Balaclava is still very much remembered today in Alfred, Lord Tennyson's narrative poem, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. In every line of the six stanzas, Tennyson reflects deeply on the strong courage of the 600 cavalry men even during the most tragic of times. Written with detailed recount, the poem tells us of the brave charge the soldiers made even when they knew they were following mistaken orders. And by using various techniques, Tennyson paints for us a vivid image of the charge at the battle scene. Through 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', he has shown us an everlasting memory and respect for the brave men who fought so courageously and boldly.The context of this poem impacts greatly on our understanding and the way we reflect on it personally. Set during the Crimean War in 1854, Britain, France and Turkey were up against Russia. But following the confused instructions of the higher commanders, the 600 soldiers charged valiantly 'into the jaws of death'. Lord Tennyson wrote this poem just a year after the battle as a tribute to the British cavalrymen who were involved in the charge. Even now after 150 years, this poem is still seen as a mark of courage. When we understand the context of the poem, we begin to relate to it more personally and recognize the idea and meaning which was being conveyed when Tennyson was writing this poem. Our respect and admiration towards those soldiers are now empathetically shown through our knowledge of the poem's context.In this poem, Tennyson uses many techniques to express feelings and deeper meanings. The technique used most commonly here is repetition. In the first stanza, there is already repetition on the phrase "half a league". Half a league is approximately one and a half miles. And although charging horses could cover the distance in a matter of a few minutes, the phrase is repeated three times to emphasize the difficult and strenuous ride the soldiers had to make. In stanza 3 and 5, repetition was also used in "canon to the right of them, canon to the left of them, canon behind them". By doing this, Tennyson is adding to the image of the battle scene by showing that the soldiers are trapped and lays emphasis on the mass number of canons surrounding them. Another use of repetition occurs at the last line of each stanza. The first three stanzas quoting "Rode the six hundred", then the last three stanzas vary to "Not the six hundred", "Left the six hundred" and "Noble six hundred". Although each stanza tells a different part of the story and adds a new image to the picture we see, we are still reminded of the six hundred soldiers throughout the entire poem. Tennyson's use of repetition doesn't only show emphasis but it also creates deeper meaning and understanding of the poem as well.In stanza 3, Tennyson describes the charging soldiers as riding "Into the jaws...

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