The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dulce et Decorum Est

The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dulce et Decorum Est

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The Charge of the Light Brigade and Dulce et Decorum Est

The two poems we have been studying are "The Charge of the Light
Brigade" and "Dulce et Decorum est" These two poems come from totally
different historical periods. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" about
the Crimean War which took place in the 19th century and Dulce et
Decorum est being about the First World War which took place in
1914-18 in the 20th century. The difference between these two
historical times are that "The Charge of the Light Brigade" , written
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson was set in a time where their arms weren't
very advanced, they mostly used weapons such as horses for defense and
swords and some guns. Dulce et Decorum est was written in a time where
they were just that little bit more advanced with their arms.

The two different poets have totally different attitudes inspiring the
poems, as they are both from different backgrounds, Tennyson wasn't
actually there when all this was taken place so all the information he
displays in his poem have been taken from different sources. Unlike
Wilfred Owen, the writer of Dulce et Decorum est, he was actually in
the war so his information is first hand which he witnessed with his
very own eyes, which really gives a better more authentic, devastating

"The Charge of the Light Brigade" was written about the Crimean war
which was happening in Turkey 100s of miles away. The soldiers
fighting In this war were English, so this may have been one of the
reasons that Tennyson was so involved. He was encouraged to write this
poem when reading a newspaper called "The Times" His approach to the
deaths in Turkey wasn't exactly sympathetic but more "well done".
Having this approach to the deaths in the war was kind of ignoring the
fact that these soldiers had died. The Poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson was
given the name "Poet Laureate" which means to be appointed, either by
the King or Queen to write something on their behalf and which is in

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the publics interest. This wasn't the case with this poem as he wrote
the poem to make the public feel proud and patriotic.

Tennyson writes this poem in a patriotic vein which means that he
writes in a mood that basically says he loves his country and he
thinks it is the best country in the world. The main reason for him
writing this way is because of the royal family as that would have
been the way that they would have desired to be written about in the
role of poet laureate, to communicate with the nation. Also, writing
in this patriotic vein ignores death as the soldiers that have died
are seemed to have done well, to have fought and died for their
wonderful country, Instead of grieving and worrying about the families
of these soldiers and those close to them, Tennyson praises the
soldiers for their noble sacrifice as that is what he thought it was.

The poem in detail and explained from begging to end would be like
this. When the poet opens the poem it is very energetic and dynamic
"Half a league, half a league, half a league onward". The pace is very
fast, this may be as the horses are seen to be galloping. The next
line is basically saying that they are all doomed; they are all going
to die. The poem gets summed up in the beginning. "All in the valley
of Death" this is also saying that the mission is pointless and that
no one is expected to survive. This is said even before they enter or
start the war. The orders that the soldiers are receiving seem very
pointless as their arms are no way as highly developed. The leader is
directing the soldiers to charge for those with guns. "Charge for the
guns" He said "into the valley of death, Rode the six hundred"

The next section of the poem is telling the soldiers to carry on "
Forward the light brigade" Then there is a rhetorical question " was
there a man dismayed?" which is meaning that nobody questioned the
wisdom of this order , ,which Sent them down the wrong valley. After
this mistake was made the soldiers didn't question the order even
thought they may had known that they shouldn't be going down that
valley and that the leader had made a mistake and just carried the
order out. After this there is some powerful repetition "Was there a
man dismayed? Not though the soldier knew, someone had blundered,
theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do
and die rode the six hundred"

In the next part of the poem it steps up a level, It starts becoming
more violent. It mentions the cannons. There seem to be any cannons
all around of them "cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of
them, cannon in front of them" this gives the impression that they are
under heavy fire and a lot of cannons are being released. The poet
also mentions the noise. It's written as a very loud noise as cannon
would be! "Volleyed and thundered" This poem is strongly repeated
about death and not just that, it is normally mentioned even before it
happens. In the next part of the poem it mentions death once again but
this time its much more violently "Boldly they rode and well into the
jaws of death into the mouth of hell, rode the six hundred. This is
personification of death which means giving things human qualities and
also attempts to make it sound grotesque.

The next part of the poem they are actually in battle, the boys are
being split apart with their swords. This part is very dramatic, The
English army were charging at the Russians but not all of them were
successful we know this as the poem quotes "Then they rode back but
not the 600"

In the next part of the poem, they are still in battle but things seem
to have not gone well. Cannons are still being fired all around them,
to the left of them to the right of them and behind them. We also know
this as the poem quotes "cannon to the right of them, cannon to the
left of them, cannon behind them" this shows that war is still active.
It seems that the soldiers are being shot at quite rapidly. "Stormed
at shot and shell" When they are being shot at, it seems that the
shots are connecting with the soldiers and their horses "while horse
and hero fell". Tennyson gives the soldiers a little credit as he says
"They that had thought so well , They had, Come though the jaws of
death, Back out the mouth of hell" but still all that was left of them
was not the six hundred" He wrote about this failure as it is a

The very last section of this poem is really congratulating the noble
six hundred soldiers that fought the war whether they survived or not.
By the poet saying "O what a charge they made the entire world
wondered. Honor the charge they made, honor the light brigade, noble
six hundred" is trying to say they made a superb effort, did well and
everyone should honor their courage and bravery, without any criticism
or even any question.

The effect which Tennyson is trying to achieve is that the soldiers
are brave and noble and follow orders whether correct or not! But
really he is only praising the survivors for what they had did, and
partly ignoring the ones that didn't make it back. I think that
Tennyson should have concentrated on the people who died just as much
as the people that survived as they deserve to be praised just as much
as each other. The soldiers that died although not getting much
praise, the did get a little bit but to me it seemed very hollow and
came across to me as being fake.

"Dulce et Decorum Est" (which means sweet and noble thing) was written
about the 1st world war in the 20th century by Wilfred Owen who had
fought in this war which makes the information this poem offers more
believable. Wilfred Owen had suffered these terrible ordeals. He was
the commanding officer of this awful war so he must had seen so many
deaths maybe even his friends and them close to him. In the 20th
century it was much more advanced, everything had been developed and
improved in some way or another, guns, cannons the lot. Owen reacted
against the patriotic propaganda of the day and felt it was his duty
to inform the public to the true horrors of modern warfare, this is
why he wrote this very powerful poem. As Wilfred Owen had experienced
these horrors he writes more in criticism as he knows that war isn't a
heroic, noble thing. Unlike the first poem as Tennyson praised and
thought well of everything that happened in the war of his times.

The poem in detail is like this. In the first line of the poem
everyone is very exhausted (unlike the first section of the charge of
the light brigade as that is very dynamic) the soldiers seem very weak
and undignified. "Bent double like old beggars under sacks, knock
kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge" this seems very
horrible and really couldn't have been a pleasing atmosphere for the
soldiers. A line from the beginning of this poem seems not very
realistic at all "men marched asleep" this makes it seem as the men
have lost all control. Many men lost their boots and limped on
blood-shod which means that the men were walking on a shoe of blood
"But limped on, Blood-shod" The next part of this section on the men
seem to be asleep and have no control what so ever over their senses,
they seem asleep. "all went lame, all blind; Drunk with fatigue; death
even to the hoots of tired" In the next section of the poem war seems
to start everything seems to step up a level. Gas! Gas! Quick boys -
An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, but
someone still was yelling out and stumbling and floundering like a man
in fire or lime" When the poet says ecstasy this seems to be a strange
word to be using under the circumstances. The soldiers seem to be
shaking (floundering) and also seem very vulnerable. This really shows
that war isn't fun and it's full of suffering.

The next small section could mean that dreams of war are bad not ones
people want to experience as they are full of guttering, choking and
drowning. "In all my dreams before my helpless sight he plunges at me,
guttering, choking and drowning.

In the last part of this poem Wilfred Owen seems very frustrated,
bitter and angry of the opinions of some about war. I think that part
of this section is telling us about one of his experiences. "Behind
the wagon we flung him in and watch the white eyes writhing in his
face, His hanging face, Like a devils sick of sin; if you could hear,
at we very jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted
lungs" this to me, seems sickening it seems like a corpse decomposing,
it really doesn't feel like a experience that I wish to have, even if
it is just in a dream. Also Wilfred Owen talks to you in direct "if
you could hear" this is supposed to grasp the reader's attention, and
it does as it seems like he is talking to you and makes you examine
your attitudes.

The effect of the poem which Owen is trying to achieve is to shatter
everyone's opinion of a glorious war, as no war is noble. But instead
involves horrifying deaths and psychological nightmares. My conclusion
to this poem is that the two writers are 100% different Wilfred Owen
is trying to inform people that war is a noble thing whether you die
or not and on the other hand Alfred, Lord Tennyson is praising the
people who fought in the war as he seems to think that war is heroic
and ignoring the fact of suffering. The reason for this is most
probably the different time periods and also the fact that Wilfred
Owen actual fought in his far when Alfred lord Tennyson didn't.
Overall I think that Owens's poem is so much more powerful and achieve
what they are set out to achieve and Alfred , Lord Tennyson's poem is
no were as near powerful just for the simple reason that it is not
first hand information it was from a newspaper which could have been
trying to feed you any information they wanted and also for the reason
that Tennyson was trying to push a belief of war as a great British
event which involves sacrifice to make the country better.
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