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To be successful…. Have a copy of the poem in front of you. ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ Alfred Tennyson. What is the poem about?. What is the poem about? The poem was written in 1854. It tells the story of a brave, but suicidal British cavalry charge during the Crimean War.

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To be successful…

Have a copy of the poem in front of you

‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’

Alfred Tennyson


What is the poem about?

The poem was written in 1854.

It tells the story of a brave, but suicidal British cavalry charge during the Crimean War.

Lord Cardigan attacked a valley with 673 cavalrymen.

The British were surrounded by cannons and, in minutes, half were dead.


What happens in the poem?

The Light Brigade move into position.

The order comes to ‘Charge for the guns’ and the men charge – they do not ‘reason why’.

Surrounded by ‘cannon’ on all sides they continue to ride ‘boldly’

They disappear into the ‘smoke’ – the enemy lines are ‘shatter’d’ but the Brigade’s losses have been terrible.

The last stanza asks readers to ‘Honour the Light Brigade’.


What does the poem mean?

The poem suggests that:

The experience of Battle can be both thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

That the sacrifice and bravery of British soldiers should be celebrated.

Some readers think that the poem is too patriotic and glorifies war.

The ‘wild charge’ is called ‘Noble’.

On the other hand…

Tennyson may use the poem to criticise British generals who ‘blundered’


To be successful…

How does the author use language, structure and form in the poem?

Have a copy of the poem in front of you

‘Belfast Confetti’

Ciaran Carson



‘Honour the charge they made’

-Breathless and excited

‘O the wild charge they made’

How could we describe the voice?

The speaker could be:

-an excited observer

-a proud British patriot

-critical of the generals

Why are they writing the poem?


Tennyson’s use of repetition is signficant.

A good example of this is the anaphorain every stanza of the poem.

‘Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward’ …

‘Cannon to the right of them,

Cannon to the left of them,

Cannon behind them’

Can you find the other repetitions in the poem?

How do they help to tell the story?

The anaphora has a slightly different effect in each stanza.

The first quotation conveys a sense of unstoppable movement. The second reinforces that the men are trapped.


Personifies the horror of war

‘mouth of Hell’

Implies a religious theme



‘shattered and sundered’

Onomatopoiearecreates the noise and result of battle.


Imagery of violent weather


‘Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die’

Tennyson structures his poem using an unstoppable rhythm and regular rhyme.

The rhythm gives the poem its energy, recreating the surge of the cavalry charge – you can almost hear the hooves in the rhythm. The rhyme helps to keep up this forward momentum, as if the reader (like the horses) cannot turn back.

Can we also feel a reckless madness in the pounding rhythm?


Celebrating the heroism of the Brigade

‘glory’, ‘honour,’noble’

The Light Brigade lost this battle – do you this sense get from the poem. Is it propoganda?

How does the ‘enemy’ appear in stanza four?

‘Some one had blunder’d’

Trnnyson celebrates the heroism of the Brigade. Not the personal terror of the individual men.

What does this line suggest about the role of soldiers and generals in a battle?

The ‘Cossack and Russian’

Who’s to blame?