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Shire Barre 26/02/2016
Charge of the Light Brigade Essay
What makes this such a powerful poem?
"Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred Lord Tennyson allows readers to engage in the
poet's choice of abstract language. While reading this poem, readers are obliged to find the
real meaning of the poem by revealing the literary techniques used in the poem. Tennyson's
poem "Charge of the Light Brigade" demonstrates that we have to honour the soldiers who
gave up their lives fighting in the Light Brigade. This was communicated through the poet's
use of tone,imagery and allusion.The poem contradicts itself because it leaves a lasting vivid
memory of the great British victory over the Russians at the battle of Balaklava, while at the
same time, reading the poem makes the reader feel as though the battle was lost. He makes
the charge on the Russians memorable by the use of poetic devices, which shows the
courage and unquestionable loyalty of the men and the dangers, which they faced.
Tennyson, in stanza one, creates a vivid picture of the soldiers charging into the valley
where the Russians were awaiting the British soldiers. His descriptive techniques paint a
clear image of the six hundred men of the Light Brigade as they charge into the valley where
they most surely meet their doom: "Into the valley of death, rode the six hundred"
The use of the metaphor helps to convey that the valley is where many men are soon to die.
In the poem Tennyson uses alliteration to express the sounds of the battle, we see this here:
"Shot and Shell", The `sh' sound at the beginning of both words is used to emphasize the
sound of bullets streaking past. Another way Tennyson expresses sound in this poem is by
using assonance, the assonance is used in the poem to grab the reader's attention and
allows the reader to understand the line's meaning, as shown here: "Flashed all their sabres
bare" Tennyson uses assonance in the last two words of the quote, `sabres' and `bare', the
poet used assonance in this line to show that the soldiers were ready to fight back, even
though they knew they stood no chance. This shows that Tennyson is accentuating the
bravery of the Light Brigade.
Repetition is used frequently in this poem to create powerful imagery in the reader's head.
One example is: "Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon in front of
them", the repetition of the word `Cannon' creates an influential image in the reader's head;
revealing hundreds of cannons all firing remorselessly at the Light Brigade. Another example
of repetition: "six hundred", these words are repeated in every stanza of the poem to
emphasize and make the reader remember the number of lives risked and lost in the
battle.The poet repeats a particular line to emphasize strong imagery in the reader's head:
"into the valley of Death", Tennyson repeated this line three times to create imagery. The
word `valley' is not only used to create the image of walls surrounding the battle, but it refers
to graves which are below ground level and have walls, just like valleys. The lines were
repeated three times to accentuate just how much the soldiers were risking when they rode
onto the battlefield.
The poet uses personification in the poem to create imagery about how it was like in the
valley. This is evident here: "into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell", here the valley is
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the reader feel empathy towards the soldiers through imagery. These lines reveal to the
reader how truly terrifying the valley was. It also shows the bravery of the Light Brigade, how
they rode into a hell/death like valley "boldly".
The poet uses imperative verbs to emphasize the importance of remembering and honouring
the Light Brigade: "Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six
hundred!", the imperative verbs are used to emphasize the importance of remembering the
Light Brigade.…read more