The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson

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The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson "The charge of the light brigade" by Tennyson was written about a disastrous military escapade during the Crimean war. The Crimean war was fought between Russia on one hand and Britain, France and Turkey on the other. The charge of the light brigade occurred in November 1854 at Balaclava in the Crimea. The Earl of Cardigan led the charge, and some six hundred cavalrymen took part in it. The brave 600 rode straight down a valley that was fortified at its end by many cannon served by Russian and Cossack gunners. The heroes were following confused orders from higher military authority as the rode into this "valley of death." Tennyson was appointed Poet Laureate by Queen Victoria in 1850, a job that was a much respected during the days of the Victorian Empire, unlike today, where it is simply awarded as a title. This poem was written retrospectively in commemoration of those who had died, "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon was written for a similar purpose, commemorating those who had died in the outbreak on world war one. The title explicitly tells us what the poem is about, "The charge of the light brigade." Each numbered verse of the poem describes a different part of events, so it is almost as if the poem is following a narrative like a story, with verse one establishing both setting and context. The first two lines, "Half a league, half a league, Half a league onwards," Creates a steady rhythm, which is meant to imitate the sound of the horses' hooves. From the very beginning ... ... middle of paper ... ...about the losses in the poem. His aim is to portray the courage of the men, not to give a realistic and detailed account of events. Although is refers slightly to military incompetence, this isn't a satirical poem. In a position of respect as poet Laureate, he could never have written a poem that put down the military establishment in the way later poets such as Siegfried Sassoon did in poems such as "base details" and "the general". Although the purpose of the poem is to commemorate the men who died courageously, I cannot help but feel annoyed at the lack of responsibility that is put upon the higher ranks of the military establishment for the tragic loss of life created by their mistake. I would hope that in our more liberal society today, we would never again allow such mistake to be made without questioning it.
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