An Explication of The Charge of the Light Brigade Essay

An Explication of The Charge of the Light Brigade Essay

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An Explication of The Charge of the Light Brigade

The charge of the Light Brigade was a disastrous event that occurred
on October 25, 1854 during the Crimean War. On December 2, 1854,
Tennyson wrote the poem in response to an article that he read about
the incident only minutes before. In my first few readings of the
poem, I thought his only purpose was to memorialize the bravery and
heroism of the British soldiers that died during the attack. After
doing more research on this incident and several closer readings of
the work, I began to realize the use of double entendres that Tennyson
employed in several places within in the poem and the tone of the poem
in general. I now believe that Tennyson had two purposes for writing
this poem. As stated earlier, I believe his first purpose was to
memorialize those who so bravely gave their lives that day; his second
purpose, however, was to show the consequence of blind obedience to
another person strictly based on position of authority.

The poem is written in short, repetitive lines that resemble a
military cadence, and as you read them aloud you seem feel the
movement of the troops as they took up their position to prepare for
the charge. There are six stanzas that vary in length of six to twelve
lines. I believe Tennyson deliberately varied the length of the
stanzas in order to capture the atmosphere of confusion during this
encounter and for particular emphasis during the various phases of the
event. The imagery within each stanza also helps the reader to paint a
mental picture of what was occurring in each phase and the feelings of
those involved in the incident.

In the first stanz...


... middle of paper ...


...en that failed. This dual perception
is implied in lines 50 and 51 where he again uses two words that
appear to be used as double entendres. In line 50 he uses "wild" to
refer to their charge, which can mean it was a fantastic charge or a
disorderly charge. In line 50 he repeats and uses the word "wonder" in
a manner similar to his use of it in line 31. According to Dr. LuAnn
McCracken Fletcher, a third possibility for the question may be that
Tennyson may be saying, "When can we stop glorifying actions like
this?" - even as we honor the men that engaged in this action. He
concludes in lines 53-55 that all of the men should be honored for
their actions that day, both those that gave their lives in the line
of duty and perhaps more importantly, those that chose to retreat when
they realized that "someone had blundered."

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