The Charge Of The Light Brigade Analysis

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Imagine going to fight in a war where the odds of winning are close to none. Now imagine charging forward where the enemy is attacking from three sides. This was the reality for a certain British Brigade during the Crimean War in 1854. In his 1854 poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, Alfred Lord Tennyson describes the Battle of Balaclava where the British march into their untimely death. Tennyson ends the poem with a significant few lines that read, “Honor the charge they made/Honor the light Brigade/Noble six hundred.” (Lines 53-55). By looking at the last sentences Tennyson writes in his poem, one is able to realize the significance of the Charge of the Light Brigade, and how those lines add to the glorification of war and honor theme seen throughout the poem. The Light Brigade was a unit of British men who misinterpreted the orders given to them by the commander-in-chief of the British army during the Crimean war. In result of this misinterpretation, the Light Brigade charged into heavy Russian artillery where they were attacked by three sides (Greenspan). Tennyson describes this scene in his poem when he states, “Cannon to the right of them/Cannon to the left of them/Cannon in front of them” (Lines 18-20). The British cavalry were slaughtered as they headed down what is known as “The Valley of Death” (Greenspan). According to the poem, there were six-hundred men who fought in this charge. By stating that they were noble, Tennyson believes these men to be of high morals and principles (Noble). This Brigade was smaller than normal, but they still fought which is the backbone of the significance of their charge. That is why Tennyson wants the reader to honor the charge they made because these still fought even though there was no chance of winning. By using the word “light” to describe this specific Brigade, Tennyson alludes to the reader that these men were the “good guys”. A brigade is defined as, “a large body of troops” (Brigade) and the word “light” is used to distinguish them from the “Heavy Brigade” which was another cavalry unit at the time. To add, when thinking of the word “light”, one thinks of things that associate with light. For example, goodness, sunshine, and feeling “light at heart”.
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