GCSE War Poem

Satisfactory Essays
GCSE War Poem

“The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “For the Fallen”, are both poems

about war. “The Charge of the Light Brigade” written by Alfred

Tennyson on 14th November 1854, describes an event in the Crimean

war. Britain and France were concerned that Russia may power

southwards, so they attacked Russia at Balaclava. “For the Fallen,”

was written by Laurence Binyon on September 1914, during the war with

the intention of showing the reader the reality of war, in particular,

Binyon takes a non-biased approach, demonstrating positive and

negative consequences, of dying for one’s country.

The two poems are similar because in both, the soldiers are brave and

prepared when going to war and portray the soldiers as heroes. The

differences are “For the Fallen” was written in the past tense and

“Charge of the Light Brigade” is written in the present. In addition,

Tennyson’s poem has a lot of action in it but Binyon’s poem is a view

of soldiers after they die. “The Charge of the Light Brigade” is

about 600 men who charged into an ambush of Russian and Cossack

cannons. This happened because the commander mistook orders and told

the men to charge into the Russian main base. Over two-thirds of the

soldiers die, while in the midst of battle. Binyon’s poem is about

men who all die in war. Binyon compares their lives to what they

would be like if they had lived and how their deaths are regarded by

other people.

The first stanza of Tennyson’s poem creates an image of horses

galloping forward:

Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward”

Repetition reflects exhaustion because it is laborious. The next line

tells the reader that the Light Brigade are the ones who are going to

be defeated:

“All in the valley of death”,

By using a metaphor, which exaggerates a point, Tennyson is

emphasising the fact that they are going to lose. The poet shows how

he feels towards the soldiers. He is feeling bravery and stupidity

for the Light Brigade. Bravery because no soldier turned back and

rode away and no one questioned the command, “Charge for the guns”.

He shows the stupidity by repeating “Valley of death”, because the

soldiers are riding to death and Tennyson is commenting on the lack

of questioning to an irrational command.

In stanza three, the Light Brigade are in the peak of battle.

Repetition of “Cannon” all around them creates a picture of an

ambush. In the next two lines the cannons are firing fiercely.

Tennyson uses alliteration to emphasize the impact the cannons are


“Stormed at with shot ad shell”
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