Background and Context• Alfred ‘Lord’ Tennyson, Poet Laureate at the time, was said to be inspired by a newspaper report of the battle written by William Howard Russell in The Times.• First published on December 9th 1854, in The Examiner, the poem tells the story of the failed charge of the British cavalry in the Battle of Balaclava which took place during the Crimean War (1853-1856).• The following documentary clip is narrated by Terry Brighton, author of Hell Riders: The Truth about the Charge of the Light Brigade.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj5bilCQEDU&feature=player_embedded
Key Term: Dactylic Dimeter• Dactyl: a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed syllables.• Dactylic Dimeter: Two ‘feet’ of ‘dactyls’• Can be tapped out: ‘DUM-dum-dum/DUM-dum-dum’• However, there are a few exceptions in the poem; such as in the lines 2 and 8, when he adds a trochaic foot at the end instead of a dactylic, and in lines 3 and 7 when he uses dactylic, trochaic, and iambic feet.
Key Term: Anaphora• The term "anaphora" comes from the Greek for "a carrying up or back," and refers to a type of parallelism created when successive phrases or lines begin with the same words, often resembling a litany.• The repetition can be as simple as a single word or as long as an entire phrase. As one of the world’s oldest poetic techniques, anaphora is used in much of the world’s religious and devotional poetry, including numerous Biblical Psalms.
Group Work• In your group analyse and comment on the stanza that has been assigned to you.• Write down your notes in P.E.E. form and be ready to report your findings back to the rest of the class.
First StanzaHalf a league, half a league, Half a league onward,All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.Forward, the Light Brigade!Charge for the guns he said:Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Second StanzaForward, the Light Brigade!Was there a man dismayd?Not tho the soldiers knew Some one had blunderd:Their’s not to make reply,Their’s not to reason why,Their’s but to do and die:Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Third StanzaCannon to the right of them,Cannon to the left of them,Cannon in front of them Volleyd and thunderd;Stormd at with shot and shell,Boldly they rode and well,Into the jaws of Death,Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred.
Fourth StanzaFlashd all their sabres bare,Flashd as they turned in airSabring the gunners there,Charging an army while All the world wonderd:Plunged in the battery-smokeRight thro the line they broke;Cossack and RussianReeld from the sabre-strokeShatterd and sunderd.Then they rode back, but notNot the six hundred.
Fifth StanzaCannon to right of them,Cannon to left of them,Cannon behind them Volleyd and thunderd;Stormd at with shot and shell,While horse and hero fell,They that had fought so wellCame thro the jaws of Death,Back from the mouth of Hell,All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
Sixth StanzaWhen can their glory fade?O the wild charge they made! All the world wonderd.Honour the charge they made!Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!
Conflict• In what way does the theme of ‘conflict’ appear within the heart of the poem’s overall message?• First impressions are of glory, excitement and heroism, but the underlying message, possibly going unnoticed, is of pointless death, caused by erroneous, fatal stupidity and an inability to question orders.
Conflict• Does Tennyson glorify war?• What reason would Tennyson have for not being more critical of these events?