Pre 1914 Poetry Comparison: Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Charge Of The

opinion Essay
1215 words
1215 words

Pre 1914 Poetry Comparison: Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Charge Of The

Light Brigade, and Wilfred Owen, Dulce Et Decorum Est

1) The Charge Of The Light Brigade

Tennyson was prompted to write this poem after reading an article in

the Times newspaper about the charge of the Light Brigade. Tennyson's

main motive for writing this poem seems to be to celebrate the bravery

of the troops.

Tennyson appears to be a patriot. He concentrates on the brave way the

soldiers went into near certain death and only makes one mention of

the complete cock-up made by the generals. Rather than concentrate on

the mistakes made he sticks with celebrating what the soldiers did

'When can their glory fade?' he asks. The use of the rhetorical is

almost challenging you to disagree with his opinion of the soldiers'


Tennyson uses a lot of things like onomatopoeia, repetition and

alliteration. He uses repetition to try and show, in words, the

confusion of the battle. An example of this is 'Cannon to right of

them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them'. He uses all of

these things to try and create imagery of the battle, to help try and

imagine what the battle was like. However what he doesn't do is he

doesn't personalise he always generalises. He gives you a picture of

the battle without actually giving accounts of the actions of the men.

The pace of the poem is the same all the way through except for one

point at the end of the fourth verse. For most of the poem the pace is

quite fast, with a rhythm comparable to the clatter of horses hooves

(on purpose or by accident?). But near the end of the fourth verse,

after speaking of the battle and the slaughter of many men, the pace

slows for about one line. 'Then they rode back, but not, Not the six

hundred.' The pause between 'back' and 'but' is cleverly used to

emphasise the loss of life.

An image that recurs a lot in the poem is personification of the

valley into which the Light Brigade rode into some kind of monster, a

devourer of human life. The phrases 'the jaws of Death' and 'mouth of

Hell' are used more than once, an important piece of imagery.

Alfred Lord Tennyson did not have first hand experience of the battle

and it shows in the poem. The Charge Of The Light Brigade is very

generalised, with the word 'them' constantly being used. No actions or

fate of any specific soldier is mentioned; it's always soldiers rather

than soldier.

My personal reaction to his poem is that it would have been better for

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how he uses the cannon to left of them, and in front of him.
  • Opines that tennyson is writing far more than is to their liking.
  • Opines that the charge of the light brigade is a poem about battle.
  • Analyzes decorum est. the company is gassed in the poem.
  • Opines that it is the kind of poem that makes one want to go out and take part in.
  • Explains that the poem's pace is the same throughout except for one point at the end of the fourth verse.
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