GCE O/L New syllabus:
English Literature made easy - Poetry
The charge of the light brigade by
Alfred Lord Tennyson
Alfred Lord Tennyson, a great poetic artist, as he was called.
In "Pictorial Presentation" he was close to keats, having "a command
of the musical resources of language" Tennyson seems to be on a high
level of poetic excellence "in rank among English poets" THE LOTUS
EATERS THE DREAM OF FAIR WOMEN, ULYSES, IN MEMORIAM, are some of his
Tennyson's desire to bring before his reader, the vigour, loyalty,
bravery and courage of the soldiers marching forward irrespective of the
danger ahead. The real battle fought in 1854.
Tennyson's diction style remains unparalleled as he expresses the
onward march of the LightBrigade, regardless of their own fate. The
lines of the poem are in "dactylic dimetre" the first four lines of the
eight lines in the first verse with a rather slow motion and fifth and
sixth lines with the command
"Forward the Light Brigade
Charge for the guns" he said'
The courage, quickness stability and loyalty of the soldiers,
exquisitely brought forth "Into the valley of Death..." reference made
to a legend and the emphasis laid in a brilliant manner through
repetition significance of the monsterous state of war "mouth of Hell",
"Jaws of Death" highlight the danger ahead... comparing to "jaws and
mouth" of some extremely dangerous animal, a monster waiting to gulp
down the human beings the brave soldiers. The effective words of the
"Forward the Light Brigade
Charge for the guns', he said.
Highlighting the complete obedience of the soldiers
In the second verse a bit of criticism in disciplining and training
of the soldiers is emphasised.
"Their's not to make reply
Their's not to reason why
Their's but to do and die
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred"
In verses three and five the strength of the enemy is clearly
"The cannons" volleyed and thundered stormed at with shot and shell"
The extremely monsterous and hellish situation created with the
contrasting image of the brave soldiers marching forward.
"Stormed at with shot and shell
Boldly they rode and well"
Stressing the obedience of the soldiers and the danger surrounding
The last line of the forth verse brings before the reader the
pathetic end of the soldiers.
"Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
shattered and sunder'd,"
The miserable state of the soldiers who strictly obeyed the commands.
In verse four
"Flashed all their sabres bare flash'd as they turned in air"
Sabring the gunners there"
The quick and immediate movements of the troop is clearly
highlighted. There's abit of irony regarding the bravery and strength of
"Boldly they rode and well into the jaws of Death" The pathetic
state, the utter destruction and failure of the brigade is emphasised in
the last line of the fifth verse.
"All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred"
The last verse is actually an eulogy paying respect, honour and
highlighting the soldiers" "undaunted courage" and the poet lavishly
calls the soldiers NOBLE SIX HUNDRED. Tennyson presumes that they had
but "to do and die"
The charge of the Light Brigade shines as a good piece of "dramatic
The stanza form adopted by Tennyson for his poem" THE CHARGE OF THE
LIGHT BRIGADE" is appealing and full of life. Simple and direct language
style is superb and distinctive. The poet's wording is creative and
"Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them,
Volley's and thunder'd."
The horrendous situation created for the soldiers destined to 'DO AND
DIE' is emphasised by the poet using repetition. The poet has used
dactylic dimetre suggesting the dangerous march the soldiers are engaged
in marching towards "the valley of death".
The rhyming scheme, emphasising the effect of the poetic sequence
created by the poet. Irony, highlighting the actual situation. "the wild
charge they made". The repetition of the word "CANNON" creating the
disaster ahead. The last four lines of the last verse.
"All the world wonder'd
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred"
'NOBLE SIX HUNDRED' the last line is in a sophisticated fashion
highlighting the end of the NOBLE SIX HUNDRED, though the poet seems to
be rather ironical about the task the soldiers had to perform "Boldly
they rode and well, into the jaws of Death".
The poet, though reluctantly, assumes that the end of the Light
Brigade was extremely pathetic.