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Written in the context of the Crimean War, The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson is one of his most inspiring and influential poems. The poem is composed by the poet laureate after reading a newspaper article on the events of the Battle of Balaclava.
In this battle, the British regiment loses a great number of soldiers and cavalry as they charge toward the Russian soldiers unarmed and unprepared after being misinformed about their location during the war.
The poem, while narrating this incident of the Crimean War, simultaneously condemns the foolish act of the British army and praises the valour of the British soldiers who fought valiantly in the battle.
Comprising of six short stanzas, the poem by Tennyson provides a detailed outline of the events of the Crimean War. The poem begins with the orders of Lord Raglan to his British army to charge toward the Russian cavalry and defeat them once and for all.
However, the British troops march in the wrong direction and loss a lot of lives as a result. Although the beginning of the poem reveals that Tennyson is ridiculing the British soldiers by exposing their blunder in the war; however, the latter half of the poem shows that the poet has composed the poem to praise the bravery and nobility of the British army which has fought courageously in the war without considering their own safety.
Despite the loss of six hundred precious lives, Tennyson considers this charge of the light brigade as an act of courage persuading the British soldiers to win this battle after facing many losses.
The poem The Charge of the Light Brigade highlights the themes of hope, courage, and patriotism. It shows the readers that the individuals can win any battle in their lives if they fight with hope and determination as the British cavalry does in the war.
Written with a simple structure and irregular rhyme scheme, the poem is not only easy to understand but succeeds in conveying its message of valour and optimism to the readers.
The poem is also enriched with various figurative devices like alliteration ‘While horse and hero fell,’ personification ‘Into the jaws of Death’ and metaphor ‘Valley of Death’ to make the poem interesting and worth reading.
A war poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson not only describes the deadly charge of the British army but also highlights the bravery and courage of the soldiers by giving the message of hope and patriotism.
War is synonymous with destruction and does not carry a positive connotation; however, Tennyson tries to glorify the war by praising the victory and valour of the British army.
Putting war in a positive light, the poem shows the readers the necessity of the war and the courage of the British soldiers to win the war by defeating the Russian army despite suffering heavy losses.
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!