Charge of the Light Brigade - Lord Tennyson

The poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is a narrative poem about war, or, more specifically, about the role played in a war by a group of six hundred soldiers, known as the Light Brigade. The poet uses various poetic techniques, such as repetition, enjambments and imagery, to convey to his audience his idea, which is received to be honouring the Light Brigade, many of who died. The following essay will explore the themes presented in the poem, as well as the techniques used to enhance the theme. The essay will also discuss the meanings drawn from the poem by the audience, determining how effective the poet was in conveying these meanings, through his use of language patterns, form and structure, specific words used, the tone and mood, as well as poetic techniques.

Lord Tennyson’s poem tells a clearly painted tale. In the first stanza, the first two lines represent a visual projection of vast space, traveled without pause.
“Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,”

The poem then continues to introduce to us the “six hundred”, who are heading “into the valley of death” or, battlefield, as it can be interpreted. In the ensuing stanzas, Tennyson explains to his audience abjectly the loyalty of these soldiers, and bravery, as they, while not knowing what was to come, didn’t question but did what they had to, in spite of the likelihood of death.

Surrounded by the enemy, from all sides; being shot at and shelled by bombs, the “six hundred”   continued to charge “into the jaws of Death,…Into the mouth of Hell” [lines seven and eight, stanza III], which can be interpreted to be their inevitable death in battle.

Furthermore, Tennyson not only portrays the intangible dangers faced by the soldiers, but gives a name and identity to it; “Cossack and Russian” [line 8, stanza IV]. In stanzas three to five, Tennyson describes the battle as it begins, climaxes, and ends, giving his audience an idea of what the Light Brigade faced...