The Charge of the Light Brigade (Literary Devices (Diction ('Half a…
The Charge of the Light Brigade
The Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War
Date & Place
25 Oct 1854, Southern Crimean coast in the Ukraine
Fought by an alliance of Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia
Russia was expanding into Danube region (Romania) which was under Turkish control
Turkey and Russia went to war in 1853
British and France (1854) fearful of Russian expansion, feared Russia would continue pushing down - come into BritishIndia through Afghanistan
A charge of British light cawalry led by Lord Cardigan against Russian forces during the battle of Balaclava on 25 Oct 1854 in the Crimean war
Lord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces attack a retreating Russian artillery battery. Due to miscommunication, sent to a well-prepared (wrong) artillery battery
The assault ended with very high British casualties
Poem was published six weeks after the event - emphasise the valour of the cavalry in bravely carrying out their orders, regardless of the obvious outcome
'The Valley of Death' symbolises the loss of life as the soldiers rode on into the valley
'Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die' shows a comparison of not mereduty but blind duty.
Stanza three gives a clear image of the horrors of warfare as the soldiers were shot at freely and without mercy as they went into the valley.
'Was there a man dismayed?'
'Half a league'
'Theirs not to make reply'
The Valley of Death is compared to the Mouth of Hell
'Forward, the Light Brigade!' - the soldiers were ordered to ride into the valley toattack the enemies but they ended up being attacked and fell like &0 pins.
'The Jaws of death' - death is personified as having jaws or a mouth to eat the soldiers as they rode into the valley
Confusion, terror, the bloodshed in a war
Heroism and excitement of armed combat
Everyone charged forward to the enemy line bravely even though it was dangerous & hopeless
Many soldiers died in the battle
The soldiers were doing their job, it was heroic but their death is tragic
Honour & Respect
The poet wants the memory of the soldiers to live forever, to be honoured & respected
The poem tells the spirit of self-sacrifice shown by the soldiers even though they knew they might not survive this battle
The soldiers remained faithful and true to their officer's command even though they knew someone might have blundered
The poem is seen as a subtle attack on the wastage of lives in war
War battle tone - reflects the sound and movement of the charge
One of collective action, rather than individual impulse
Rolling, hypnotic sound, like the sound of a military march
A feeling of exhaustion, as one forces oneself through the last few laps
Point of View
3rd Person POV
Language & Style