Compare the experience of the soldiers in Charge of The Light brigade and Bayonet Charge

Bayonet charge is about a WW1 soldier who is running with his heavy rifle across a field under enemy fire. Then suddenly, time stops and the soldier questions why he is running towards bullets. Suddenly the soldier notices an innocent hare running across the field under gunfire, the hare gets caught up in the gunfire and dies. The poet ends the poem with the soldier instead of fighting for honour and dignity, he runs to survive. This poem shows what the soldiers were feeling when they were running towards the enemies hiding in trenches in WW1.

It reflects the question because the soldier freezes to look back on what he is doing and why is he doing it and in the end the soldier gets frightened and runs away. The poem starts in the middle of the action and is written in 3 stanzas. The 1st stanza is 8 lines and describes the situation, the 2nd stanza is 7 lines and it’s when the soldier stops and he thinks about what is he doing, why is he running towards bullets and the 3rd stanza is also 8 lines and it shows the soldier’s realization of war.

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Charge of the light brigade is about a famous battle which was called the Crimean war and during the war, the British, French and Turkey armies were fighting against the Russians over control of the Dardanelles. The poet wrote the poet to memorialize a suicidal charge by light cavalry over open terrain by British forces. Tennyson wanted to show how brave the British soldiers were. His job was to keep people thinking that war is good. He recounts on the story of a brave but suicidal charge by the light brigade. Lord Cordigan led 673 cavalry men in an attack on a valley.

In minutes 247 men were either killed or injured. The charge became known for its recklessness. This shows the soldier’s experience because after the reckless charge the soldiers must have been horrified to witness their friends die whilst charging at the enemy, it shows the reality of conflict and how conflict can show the deaths of many people. The poem is very regular in it structure, with several examples of repetition. The Charge of the Light Brigade is a narrative poem, with each of the stanzas progressing the story of the attack.

Bayonet Charge starts with the quote “Suddenly, he awoke” this shows that through the use of the word “suddenly” it is unexpected, that he is thrown right into the action. This quote shows how serious war is and how there can be action all the time throughout it. “suddenly he awoke” also shows us that war is like a nightmare, that the soldier is vulnerable or confused, for example when we have a nightmare we “suddenly” wake up from the nightmare and reflect on what just happened before going back to bed.

From this, we learn how scary and frightening war really is on the battlefield and this reflects back to the question because it shows that the soldier was frightened and confused. The use of language in the first stanza makes the poem sound intense and how the battle must have been difficult. COTLB starts differently however with the quote “Half a league”. This quote is repeated twice and it is a dactylic rhythm which emphasises movement. It also is interpreted to sound like horses galloping for example soldiers riding on the horses.

The poem starts also quite suddenly as the soldiers are charging with the horses into the “valley of death”. “death” suggests something sinister or bad will happen to the soldiers. This reflects back to the title because it shows the bravery of the soldiers charging into the enemy and how all the soldiers are noble to their country. In the second stanza of Bayonet Charge the soldier stops and reflects on what he is doing. The quote “then, he almost stopped” this quote emphasises the fact that he is frozen in time and he is reflecting on what is he doing, why is he doing this, what is the point?

The soldier is petrified and tried to find an understanding for why he is in this situation. This links to later in the poem where it says “He was running, like a man who has jumped out of the dark and ran” this quote shows that he is running towards the enemy but he is also trying to find a reason why he is doing it, however he can’t find one. This, again, links to the question because it shows the soldier is terrified of the situation he is in since he is running directly at the enemy.

Also, the alliteration of the letter C in “cold clockwork” is used for effect to suggest the soldier’s feelings of fate. In COTLB, it also develops into the soldiers charging into the gunfire of the enemy however the soldiers are in a much worse situation. This is reinforced by the quote “Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, Cannon in front of them” This quote shows that the soldiers are surrounded by the enemy and there is no escape, which shows there is little chance of survival.

This links to the question and Bayonet Charge because the soldier is also charging at the enemy under fire however here, they are trapped. The repetition of the word “Cannon” describes the true horror of the situation and how scary war really is. It, again, links to Bayonet Charge because the soldier was petrified and frozen looking back at what he was doing which shows us that the reality of war is really scary. It then goes to say “Volley’d and thunder’d” this quote shows that the cannons were powerful and threatening.

The verb describes the noises that the cannons made and since these are strong verbs it shows us that the cannons also are very powerful which we can expect from cannons. Bayonet Charge ends with the soldier finally realising the reality of war. The quote “Threw up a yellow hare” shows the appearance of a scared and injured hare, it shows innocent death and how even innocent creatures can get caught up in the conflict of war. Then it goes on to say “rolled like a flame and crawled in a threshing circle, its mouth wide” This quote emphasises frantic movement, it suggests confusion.

It also suggests what the hare was doing as it got shot, that it was rolling around like a flame since it was getting shot at, reinforces innocent death. The quote also shows how painful the process of getting shot for the hare must have been through the use of the word “crawled” since crawling is a painful process and a person wouldn’t crawl unless they were hurt. It also suggests pain and fear through the use of the quote “its mouth wide”. It shows the hare is dead and the open mouth could be interpreted as the hare’s cries of pain.

It shows again, innocent death and the soldier realises this as the reality of war, which he then runs away because of this. He realizes that war is painful and scary and for that reason decides to abandon his loyalty and nobility to his country and runs away scared. This links to the question because it shows the soldier’s true feelings about war. COTLB ends differently with Tennyson saying “When can their glory fade? ” Tennyson asks this rhetorical question to show how he feels the soldiers should be glorified for their bravery even though they died.

He then says “wild charge they made! All the world wonder’d. ” Through this quote, Tennyson makes the soldiers sound dramatic and courageous, again linking back to how his idea was to show how brave the soldiers were even though they made a very suicidal charge. “All the world wonder’d” is also repeated in the poem and it shows the disbelief, not only of the soldiers but also of the parents and carers when the reports of disaster reaches home.

It shows that the soldiers were brave and links back to question showing Tennyson thought he should tell the world how brave these soldiers were. This contradicts Bayonet Charge because at the end, the soldier decides to run away showing he is cowardly when here; Tennyson interprets the soldiers as courageous and honourable. The poem ends with “Noble six hundred” and this shows that the epitaph for the men should be remembered this way. That they were noble.

In conclusion, Bayonet Charge starts of with the soldier being brave and fighting for his country and then the soldier gets scared and runs away. It shows the reality of war and how terrifying war really is which I think is the proper way to interpret war. Tennyson however wrote about the soldiers being brave. This is also very good because it makes other soldiers want to join the army and fight for their country because they would be seen as courageous and brave.

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Compare the experience of the soldiers in Charge of The Light brigade and Bayonet Charge. (2016, Aug 13). Retrieved from