“The Charge Of The Light Brigade”

The theme of this poem is very different to the theme of “Dulce et decorum est,” although both “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “The Charge of the Light Brigade” are about battle and the death of soldiers, they portray the experience of war in different ways. Tennyson´s poem celebrates the glory of war, despite the fact that, because of an error of judgment Someone had blundered, six hundred soldiers were sent to their death. Owen´s poem, on the other hand, might almost have been written as a challenge to Tennyson´s rousing and jingoistic sentiments.



The first verse starts in the middle of the action as Cardigan the commander, gives the order to charge. “forward the light brigade charge for the gun.” This gives a sense of the excitement of the galloping horses in the cavalry charge, and sweeps the reader along, without time to question the futility of the gesture, “forward, the light brigade!, Charge for the guns!.” Tennyson then uses noble sounding euphemisms like “into the valley of death” to describe the fate that awaits these men. He does not convey the gory reality of the slaughter.



In the second verse Cardigan gives the order “forward the light brigade!.” The soldiers know that the order is wrong , but as they are loyal and brave soldiers willing to fight, they did not disagree, and carried out the order!. we know this when Tennyson explains that, “Not tho\' the soldier knew.” Tennyson celebrates the ideal of unquestioning obedience of the soldiers in the face of death, “theirs not to make reply ,theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die”


In the third verse Tennyson explains to us about the amount of cannons firing at the light brigade, and how brave and courageous the soldiers were to ride through the gun fire. Tennyson then tells us that the men were hit with shot and shell, commenting on the thunderous noises that were made by the volleying cannons. Then at the end of the verse Tennyson tells us how the soldiers are riding to their death. “Into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell rode the six hundred”


In the fourth verse, Tennyson tells us the light brigade have “Plunged in the battery-smoke, Right thro\' the line they broke.” This speeds up the line and makes it sound more exhilarating for the reader. Tennyson then explains the soldiers retreating by saying ,


“Then they rode back but not the six hundred.”


In the fifth verse Tennyson explains the cannons firing at the men. He also tells us that the men are heroes, but are losing their lives rapidly, we know this when he says “while horse and hero fell.” Throughout the verse Tennyson explains that they are so brave and have fought so well. We know this when Tennyson explains “they had fought so well.” “They came back from the mouth of hell, All that was left of them left of the six hundred.”


. In the final stanza Tennyson creates a sense of the immortality of the soldiers´ bravery with a rhetorical question and commands:
‘When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made! …
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!´




The repetition of ‘the six hundred´ at the end of each stanza reminds the reader of the enormous loss of life, but at the end of the poem they have become the ‘Noble six hundred´ and are celebrated as heroes Tennyson then comments even more on the courage and bravery of the soldiers and how it should never be forgotten. The world was left to wonder why it happened.


In this poem Tennyson uses various literary techniques to create a vivid picture of the battle. He uses onomatopoieato try and describe what it was really like back in the war to give us an idea of what sort of sounds the cannons made.


Tennyson describes this in verse 5 by saying.


“volleyed and thundered


stormed at with shot and shell”


One of Tennyson favorite techniques, in this poem is repetitions, he uses these in verse 1,3,4,5 to speed up the poem and to give the poem rhyme and rhythm.


He uses a reputition in verse one by saying:


“ half a league,