Flashcards in GCSE English Literature Poetry - CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (Grade 7, 8, 9 Quotes) Deck (5):
'Half a league, half a league, half a league onwards'
'Half a league, half a league, half a league onwards':
Firstly, a dactyl is used here (one stressed syllable, followed by 2 unstressed syllables) with the term 'half' being the stressed syllable (HALF a league, HALF a league), almost making it sound like a song to celebrate the heroic sacrifices of the soldiers. Also, an anaphora is used here (repeating a word at the start of a line more than twice) to represent the rhythm of the aggressive hoofs of the horses as they charge towards their opponents.
'All in the valley of death'
'All in the valley of death':
This quote is a Christian reference as the 'valley of death' is taken from Psalm 23 in the Bible, where the character states if he walks through the valley of death, he won't fear as God will stand by his side, so in the poem, the soldiers may not fear charging to the Russians as God is with them, and even if some do die, God will take them to heaven.
'Theirs but to do and die'
'Theirs but to do and die':
The quote above says 'do and die', sibilance used to demonstrate the fact that the soldiers have no escape and that death is inevitable for many of the soldiers. Furthermore, Tennyson highlights the great courage of the soldiers because they were aware that 'someone had blundered' on their mission, but instead of giving up, they still went on with the mission and sacrificed their lives in the process, presenting them as true war heroes.
'While all the world wondered'
In this quote, Tennyson intentionally rhymes the verb 'wondered' with the verb 'blundered', and number 'hundred', to externally demonstrate the amazement of the outside world at how the British soldiers heroically devoted their lives to a mission that they knew someone had messed up ('blundered'), so the public are celebrating the soldier's extreme nobility, but on a deeper scale, Tennyson is questioning the reader on the public's true reaction; the public are wondering how the British messed up an order and sacrificed several of their soldiers on the battlefield.