Comparing and contrasting The charge of the Light Brigade and The Defence of Lucknow by Lord Alfred Tennyson
Comparing and contrasting The charge of the Light Brigade and The Defence of Lucknow by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Comparing and contrasting The charge of the Light Brigade and The Defence of Lucknow by Lord Alfred Tennyson

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  • Pages: 6 (2951 words)
  • Published: October 28, 2017
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“The Charge of The Light Brigade” and “The Defence of Lucknow” are two notable poems written by Lord Alfred Tennyson one of Britain’s finest poet laureates who lived during the 19th century. These two poems are based on two different battles which the Britons faced and fought with bravery and loyalty.

Within this essay I am going to signify the differences and similarities between the two poems.”The Charge of The Light Brigade” is based on the battle where the British and the French became allies with each other and emerged as a unit against the Russians. Both nations feared the dominance of the Russians thus they decided to unite since the Russians in that time were known as the Super power.The poem was written in the 19th century and Tennyson wrote this emphatically as a response to a newspaper article in “The Times” by W.

H. Russell. Tennyson felt that W.H.

Russell was being too pessimistic about the performance of the British soldiers. This is why he decided to write a poem in the favour of Britain, glorifying the efforts of the British soldiers to show how brave and loyal the soldiers were.In this poem Tennyson emphasises on the British because he is a pro British poet laureate therefore he only wrote about the experience of the British soldiers and in contrast nothing about the French despite the fact that the two nations fought as one. The soldiers who fought for Britain are portrayed as patriotic warriors who did not only fight due to command but a

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lso for their beloved nation which they were proud to be part of. They refused to face defeat and go down and under but instead rise for victory since that was their primary objective for the cause of Britain”The Defence of Lucknow” was one of the most famous episodes of the Indian Mutiny in 1857. It is based on a battle that took place during the time that India was a colony of England.

This battle was of high intensity between the British settlement in India against the rebels. This poem is set in Lucknow. The Britons used the fat of cows and pigs in order to oil their bullets for their guns. This caused major conflict between the Indians and the British due to the fact that the Indian society consisted of two different religions which were Hinduism and Islam who were offended by this due to religious restrictions. Hence the Muslims and Hindus united with each other and became allies to fight against the British army in an outrageous battle which the Indians considered to be crucial since both religions were offended and infuriated. The Indian soldiers were highly trained and equipped and were virtually unstoppable.

Tennyson uses this as a factor to emphasise on the fact how brave the British soldiers were because they were again in the minority compared to their opponents; the expertly trained rebels.These two poems are both based on two separate battles which took place in two completely different scenarios. One is based on the fear of dominance and the other on rebellion. However in both poems Tennyson

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emphasises on the courage of the British soldiers. Indeed in both battles the Britons are in the minority. For both of these poems Tennyson uses this as a fact to show how brave the British soldiers were.

In “The Charge of The Light Brigade” Tennyson predominantly describes how outnumbered and surrounded the British army was.In stanza 3 of “The Charge of Light Brigade” he mentions:”Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon in front of them” (The charge of The Light Brigade, S: 3)This shows how they were in the minority and Tennyson is emphasising on their courage and bravery.”Ever the labour of fifty that had to be done by five” (The Defence of Lucknow S: 6)This quote portrays the scenario in which the British were and it tells the reader that any army who could still carry on fighting in a situation such as this would have to be immensely brave and loyal.By writing a poem as such about the battle makes the reader believe that although the battle was lost, the courage and bravery of the soldiers was that of those who win battles.In order to emphasise how well the British fought, Tennyson gives a very detailed description of the enemy of the Britons. If we look at “The Defence of Lucknow” here the Indian rebel soldiers were very highly trained and were perfectly armed and equipped.

They had spies which informed them of the people with high authority and skills in the British army in order to set a structured plan. To be in the minority against such a force meant that the British were ready to become martyrs for their nation with pride as Tennyson explains in this poem.”Death for their spies were among us, their marksmen were told of our best, So that the brute bullet broke thro’ the brain that could think for the rest” (The Defence of Lucknow S: 6)These two lines signify how courageous the British soldiers were. To be able to have the will to fight such a powerful enemy surely embodies the spirit of courage.

In “The Defence of Lucknow” Tennyson describes how the British were being attacked in contrast to “The Charge of The Light Brigade” where he describes how the British attacked the enemy courageously with loyalty and bravery.”Forward, the Light Brigade!”(“The Charge of Light Brigade” S: 2)Here Tennyson explains how the Britons were marching forward in “The charge of The Light Brigade” which means they were attacking with courage.”Backward they reel like the wave, like the wave flinging forward again” (The Defence of Lucknow S: 3)This explains that in “The Defence of Lucknow” the British were being attacked continuously but withstood the intense pressure.”The Defence of Lucknow” is a much longer poem compared to “The Charge of The Light Brigade”. However, they both convey a strong message of how strong the British army was.

“Women and children among us, God help them, our children and wives! Hold it we might and for fifteen days or twenty at most ‘Never surrender, I charge you, but every man die at his post!'” (The Defence of Lucknow,

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