ALFRED LORD TENNYSON: 'THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE'

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  • ALFRED LORD TENNYSON: 'THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE'
    • FORM ANALYSIS: BALLAD
      • The ballad is a historic form of poetry which often used to be sung. It is a poem which tells a story,and contains a refrain. A refrain is like the chorus of a song- a line which is repeated regularlythroughout the poem. In TCOTLB the refrain is the use of 'six hundred' at the end of each verse.
        • The ballad form therefore suggests that there is anelement of folklore to the Charge of the Light Brigade, and that it is an awe inspiring act of braverywhich should be passed on to future generations, never to be forgotten.
        • Tennyson wanted the public not just to never forget the bravery of the soldiers, but alsoto never forget the stupidity of the aristocratic leadership.
    • STRUCTURE:
      • Dactylic dimeter:Not only does it echo the hoofbeats of the horses, but also adds energy and pace to the poem, all of which combines to help thereader empathise with the situation the soldiers found themselves in.
        • 'someone had blundered':the dactyls create the send of the horses gallopingforwards, the fourth line is shortened which mirrors how the soldiers' lives will also be shortened.
    • Language
      • Many words in the poem create a sense of sound. Through the use of 'thundered', 'shattered','sundered' and 'blundered', there is an almost drum like beat created through reading the poem.
      • However, the critic Matthew Bevis has argued that this repetition of 'ered' is used because of itsphonetic similarity to the words 'err' and 'erred', i.e. to make an error. Again, this would be a subtlebut noticeable criticism from Tennyson.
        • "wondered" carries within it the sound of the poem's pride for the men alongside its awareness of thepointlessness of their death ('won', 'erred').
          • Many words in the poem create a sense of sound. Through the use of 'thundered', 'shattered','sundered' and 'blundered', there is an almost drum like beat created through reading the poem.

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