The Charge of the Light Brigade and Attack

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The Charge of the Light Brigade and Attack ' The Charge of the light Brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson and 'Attack' by Siegfried Sassoon are two very dissimilar poems. Both of them are on the same topic of war but have many contrasts in how they treat the subject matter, war. The main difference between these two poems is the audience that they were written for. Tennyson, as poet laureate, was written for public reading, but Sassoon's work which showed more emotion and feeling, was therefore more of a private poem. The poems' tone and mood are very different. Tennyson's poem is a triumphant, victorious and celebratory poem. This is because the Victorians did not want to read about defeat, as it was not considered honourable, so Tennyson praises the men who died in the charge. He writes, "Boldly they rode and well," and, "While horse and hero fell." Tennyson also tells us that they were fearless and did everything without query. " Theirs not to make reply. Theirs not to reason why." In the last verse of the poem Tennyson asks all people to, "Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!" Even in defeat Tennyson portrays the men as heroes. In contrast Sassoon created a sinister and threatening mood. His poem contains a mysterious haunting quality revealing the shocking brutality of what war was really like. Instead of portraying the men who fought as brave and fighting without question, he says they were, "Masked with fear," when they had to go over the top to meet the "Bristling fire". It is clever the way he uses bristling to depict the gunfire because by this he makes out that the gunfire is heavy. He also says, "Lines of grey, muttering faces," which depicts a questioning attitude, which is a com... ... middle of paper ... ...een lines. ' Attack has thirteen lines.) The two poems are written from two points of view, and have very different purposes. Tennyson is reflecting on an event that had happened ten years beforehand and an event that he himself was not involved him. He was writing to commemorate those that had died during the charge. By the way he has written the poem, he seems to think that war was very honourable, even in defeat Sassoon however had experienced war, and really knew what it was like to be in the front line, ( unlike Tennyson). The purpose of his poem was to tell people what war was really like. How it was frightening and sad. He clearly and blatantly had a negative view of war, as he says in his last line, "O Jesus, make it stop!" and thinks of war as dishonourable and futile, " And hope with furtive eyes and grappling fists, flounders in the mud."
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