The Charge of the Light Brigade: Alfred Lord Tennyson was a stalwart of the Victorian era poetry. His most famous poems were ‘In Memorium’, ”Ulysses’, ‘The Lady of Shallot’ etc.
We shall be seeing another one of his poems which is ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’.
The Charge of the Light Brigade
Analysis and Summary of ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’
The poem tells the story of a brigade consisting of 600 soldiers who rode on horseback into the “valley of death” for half a league (about one and a half miles). They were obeying a command to charge the enemy forces that had been seizing their guns.
Not a single soldier was discouraged or distressed by the command to charge forward, even though all the soldiers realized that their commander had made a terrible mistake because all of them were true soldiers. A true soldier’s duty is to follow orders and not question.
The 600 soldiers were assaulted by the shots of shells of canons in front and on both sides of them. Still, they rode courageously forward toward their own deaths. They fought courageously and bravely, even if it meant that it would lead them to their deaths.
Then they rode back from the offensive, but they had lost many men so they were “not the six hundred”anymore. As the brigade rode “back from the mouth of hell,” soldiers and horses collapsed; few remained to make the journey back.
Introduction to Tennyson
Tennyson wrote the poem in memory of the brave English soldiers that died during the Crimean war in 1854. The poem glorifies war and courage, even in cases of complete inefficiency and waste, and through this poem, we see Tennyson’s acceptance and support of the war.
Why the poem remains such as famous war epic is because of its rhythmic stanzas and repetition of words (Half a league/half a league/ half a league onward). The poem attempts to comprise the military integrity of repetition to enhance a feeling of patriotism in the reader.