The Charge of the Light Brigade

HideShow resource information
"Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward..."
The repetition of this phrase creates the regular rhythm. It sounds like galloping horses' hooves - it gives the impression that the horses are unstoppable.
1 of 29
"All in the valley of Death..."
This sounds sinister - the reader is warned right from the start that something bad is going to happen.
2 of 29
It is unusual that 'Death' has a capital letter. Perhaps it is suggesting that war is inevitable, or maybe 'Death' is acting as a proper noun - as if it is a place to visit, like London. Either way it forshadows death.
3 of 29
"Into the valley of Death..."
There is a line in the Bible that says "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." (Psalm 23). Using biblical references makes the poem seem solemn and significant. It also shows bravery on behalf of the soldiers.
4 of 29
"...the six hundred."
The soldiers are presented as a collective with one purpose - it comes as a shock to readers, as there are so many. Using the word 'the' increases the level of importance.
5 of 29
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
By repeating the command from line 5, it shows that the commanding officer is determined that there is no going back. The explanation mark add the end reflects the violence and forcefulness.
6 of 29
"Was there a man dismay'd? Not tho' the soldier knew some one had blunder'd:"
The soldiers realise the order was a mistake but they do what they're told becuase it's their duty to obey orders. The poet respects them for this.
7 of 29
"Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die:"
The rhyme and repetition emphasises the soldiers' obedience and sense of duty, even though they know they will almost certainly be killed. When the last two lines of this phrase are read downwards 'why die', it questions the soldier's purpose of war.
8 of 29
"Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon in front of them..."
This almost sounds onomaopoeic and reflects the harsh sounds of the surrounding and the cannons. The repetition gives a very visual image of the soldiers being trapped. The only way free is to go back but they can't go back-little chance to survive.
9 of 29
"Volley'd and thunder'd;"
These powerful and threatening verbs suggest the noise from the cannons.
10 of 29
"Storm'd at with shot and shell..."
The word 'storm'd' is a description of nature and a pathetic fallacy. The sibilance of 'shot and shell' could emphasise the idea of ammunition flying towards them. Maybe it reflects the sound of swords, guns or bullets.
11 of 29
"Boldly they rode and well..."
The poet clearly admires the soldiers, as they are brave and skilful despite the horrors they face.
12 of 29
"...jaws of death...mouth of hell..."
These images personify death and hell and make them seem like monsters that the soldiers can't escape from - it reflects the fear of the soldiers.
13 of 29
"Rode the six hundred."
The first three stanzas end with this line. It adds to the sense of foreboding and reminds us of the number of soldiers - it reinforces disbelief.
14 of 29
"Flash'd all their sabres bare, Flash'd as they turn'd in air..."
The repetition of 'Flash'd' (perhaps referring to the cannon fire or swords) and the rhyme creates a powerful image of the cavalry using their swords.
15 of 29
"Sabring the gunners there..."
This reminds readers that the cavalry only had swords against the Russian guns.
16 of 29
"All the world wonder'd:"
This is open to alternative interpretation a) it could mean that people are marvelled at their bravery b) or maybe they are questioning their orders.
17 of 29
"Plunged in the battery-smoke..."
The verb of 'plunged' shows how the action was done instinctively - it shows their courage, as they kept going even through a blinding wall of gun smoke.
18 of 29
"...sabre stroke shatter'd and sunder'd."
The sibilance here sounds vicious and reflects the violence of the surroundings.
19 of 29
"...but not, not the six hundred."
Although it sounds as though they've been successful, it's clear that some of them have been killed. This is very emotive towards the reader.
20 of 29
"Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon behind them..."
This is similar to the opening lines of stanza 3, but now the soldiers are retreating.
21 of 29
" and hero fell, they that had fought so well..."
The sense of admiration is touched with sadness.
22 of 29
"Back from the mouth of hell..."
The fact that this line now says 'Back from' shows that the Valley has 'eaten some.'
23 of 29
"All that was left of them, Left of six hundred."
The repetition reminds us that lives have been lost and creates pathos with the reader. It no longer says 'the six hundred' - could show that their importance will be lost when they die.
24 of 29
"When can their glory fade?"
This is a rhetorical question that challenges the reader - it suggests that you should always remember them.
25 of 29
"O the wild charge they made!"
This sounds dramatic and daring. It is very emotive and the word 'wild' shows how the orders weren't thought through.
26 of 29
This word is repeated from stanza 4 - it emphasises people's amazement at their bravery.
27 of 29
This imperative is repeated to leave the reader with the idea that they should honour the cavalry.
28 of 29
This word sums up the way the poet wants the cavalry to be remembered, including the ones who died.
29 of 29

Other cards in this set

Card 2


"All in the valley of Death..."


This sounds sinister - the reader is warned right from the start that something bad is going to happen.

Card 3




Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


"Into the valley of Death..."


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


"...the six hundred."


Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all AQA Anthology resources »