Tone in "The Destruction of Sennacherib"

Topics: Single person, George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, Wiping Pages: 3 (1273 words) Published: November 6, 2007
Tone in "The Destruction of Sennacherib"
In Lord Byron's poem "The Destruction of Sennacherib" the narrator's tone is one of amazement. It's clear to see that he is amazed a how quickly and easily the huge enemy army is wiped out. He says that the enemy's army was as numerous as the leaves on the trees and that their spears shined like the "stars on the sea", but all the angel of death had to do was "spread his wings" to dispose of them. The speaker seems to be in awe of how little effort it took the death angel to wipe them out, because he says that all the angel had to do was breath on them and they died. Finally, he seems to be in awe of how total the destruction of the enemy was, saying that their idols broke and that their might "melted like snow".

In the beginning of this poem, the speaker describes the might of the enemy army to the reader. He says that the Assyrians were ruthless and that they were a force feared by all. To describe their ferocity, he compares them to wolves coming down on a flock of sheep. When a predator such as a wolf attacks a prey it usually does so without warning and without mercy, so we can picture this army just appears on the edges of the territory, ready to strike and kill or enslave as many people as they can. He also says that "the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea ", which causes the reader to not only picture this army of vicious Assyrians at the edges of the kingdom, but also to see the spears that they were carrying shining in the light, a pretty scary thing if you were inside of that city. (1080)

Not only does the line talking about the spears contribute to the dread that Jerusalem, the town under siege, must have felt, but it also gives you a hint of how many enemy soldiers there were. Because it uses stars in his comparison, we can assume that they looked as numerous as stars shining off of not just a lake but a whole sea. Another way the speaker shows us how large their numbers were is...
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