Analysis of The Charge of the Light Brigade

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Analysis of The Charge of the Light Brigade

This particular poem deals with the unfortunate mistake of Battle of

Balaclava in 1854. In an attempt to retrieve their stolen firearms,

the British, lead by Lord Raglen, took their light cavalry to the

innocent Turkish territory, rather than the guilty Russians. In

self-defence Turkey protect themselves by attacking the British troops

causing hundreds of deaths but "not, not the six hundred".

Tennyson uses various techniques to involve the reader more

personally. He uses this to emphasise the pain and suffering felt by

the soldiers so the reader can really appreciate the physical defeat

but the emotional victory from the "noble six hundred". The use of

onomatopoeia in poems is generally used to make the situation more

realistic. Although the same applies in this instance, Tennyson adds

aural imagery to seem as if the reader is actually at the battle

listening to everything being "shatter'd" and "thunder'd". Also, the

words used for onomatopoetic effect are all descriptions of adversity

and hardship. Words such as "shot" and "storm'd" conjure up images of

the death in the mind of the reader.

The stanza layout is specifically used to reflect the journey of the

cavalry. In stanza one, they are striding towards the battlefield,

moving "half a league onward". In the second canto, they are still

travelling to the valley, and tension is mounting, even though their

leader "had blunder'd". Although in modern times this would be very

questionable when a leader makes a mistake when going into a

potentially damaging battle. However, they did not argue or "reason

why". In the third verse, the struggle commences as they are fired at

from all angles. They bravely push o...

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...t of Lancelot in "The Lady of Shalott". Although

one is myth and the other is real the definition of "bravery" is


The length of each stanza varies form six to twelve lines. The six

stanzas and six lines reflect the "six hundred" soldiers. The altering

stanza length echoes the varying number of soldiers left. The first

three stanzas have nine lines and their last line is "Rode the six

hundred" whereas the last three stanzas are all different with

different endings.

Throughout the poem we notice Tennyson's distaste for war. However he

has made the battle itself rather exaggerated to show that war is not

all about victory, bravery or patriotism, but death, blood and loss.

He does, nevertheless, respect the soldiers involved and tries to make

the reader appreciate the huge level of loss made by the mistake by

one, somewhat more powerful man.