Poetry Coursework

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Compare and contrast The Charge of the Light Brigade and The Destruction of Sennacherib. How do the poets use language devices to show their attitude towards war? The two poems that I’m going to be comparing are, The Destruction of Sennacherib by Lord Byron and Charge of the Light Brigade written by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Alfred Lord Tennyson, born 6th August 1809, died 6th October 1892, was a “Poet Laureate” in the United Kingdom during the Victorian era, he is still considered to be one of the most popular English language poets. The “Crimean war” was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Sardinia, and the Duchy of Nassau. The poem The Charge of the Light Brigade was written by Lord Tennyson during Queen Victoria’s era in England. During this time the Victorians had a very religious perspective on life. The poem was an account written by the poet laureate, Lord Tennyson, because it was such a horrific battle that the government could not let the public see it had made a great mistake and so as the poet laureate, Tennyson wrote the poem saying what a great battle it had been. It was a cover up. The Charge of the Light Brigade is about the British army’s suicidal charge into a “Valley of Death”. Lord Byron, born 22nd January 1788, died 19th April 1824, was a British poet, known for his work in Romanticism, he was one of the greatest and influential British poets, and still remains well read. The Destruction of Sennacherib was based around a Biblical story about the Assyrian King Sennacherib and how he failed to capture Jerusalem however both Biblical and Historical references disagree with Byron’s account. Byron’s poem mentions that Sennacherib was killed, but Biblical and Historical records contrast with this, the accounts given show that he was 25 miles away In the city of Lachish fighting the Egyptians. Lord Byron was inspired to write the poem The Destruction of Sennacherib after he visited the ruins Nineveh. The structure of the two poems has some similarities, The structure of The Destruction of Sennacherib is written out over 6 stanzas and is written in a narrative form to a rhythm of galloping horses; similarly Charge of the Light Brigade is a narrative poem but is read out in chant with the rhythm of marching soldiers set out between 7 stanzas. The paces of the poems give the readers, an insight to the poet’s attitude. In The Charge of The Light Brigade, Tennyson uses, short paced, and rapid sentence, “Canon to right of them” “Cannon to the left of them” to create a suspenseful atmosphere for the reader to engage in, this also gives an image of honourable soldiers marching to the “Valley of death”. Although Tennyson never actually fought in the war himself, he shows great care as to how the soldiers were treated, which could mean he is very anti war, and using the short-fast paced sentences ironically, which I will later explain. However, in The Destruction of Sennacherib, Byron uses rhyming couplets to make the poem flow better. He also uses descriptive and structured sentences as opposed to short-rapid sentences that Tennyson had used. This shows that he may have a strong hate for Sennacherib, even though he wasn’t at the battle. “And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;” in The Destruction of Sennacherib Sennacherib’s army are portrayed as wearing purple and gold, these colours are generally related to royalty. The colour gold represents prosperity and wealth, whereas purple symbolises regalness and spirituality, this would suggest that Sennacherib and his army are over pretentious and regard themselves as better than others. In comparison The Charge of the Light Brigade the strength and ruthlessness of the Army is not shown by what they are wearing, but by their brute force and determination, however they are not shown as ignorant and pretentious as Sennacherib’s army, but instead are shown to be noble and humble...
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