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Romeo and Juliet | The Charge of the Light Brigade

Steph Atkinson | Sunday September 22, 2019



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Alfred Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade

Overview and Context

Written following the disastrous 1854 Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War, this poem can be read as both jingoistic and as highlighting the horrors of war. Whilst Tennyson was Poet Laureate at the time and might have been expected to produce patriotic poetry, there is a certain sorrow in the closing lines.

Some Initial Notes

One of the most notable features of this poem, and one of the reasons that it is so commonly taught, is its distinctive rhythm. The dominant dactylic meter replicates the pounding of the horses’ hooves, whether in attack or in retreat. It can be seen to glorify the bravery of the soldiers in the face of death, although the chaos of the battle…

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