Conflict often has harmful effects, including causing death and destruction, so it is usually viewed negatively. However, conflict can also bring out positive traits in people, and the people involved in it may be respected. “Bayonet Charge” imagines a soldier’s experience in battle. “The Charge of The Light Brigade” recounts the story of the charge made by the Light Brigade in the Battle of Balaclava.
One way conflicted is presented in “Bayonet Charge” is through the use of language. The language used, portrays the soldier and his actions/movements. Ted Hughes uses sibilance to portray the soldier’s actions as well as feelings. For example, “raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy
Stumbling...” The use of sibilance here mimics the squelching mud. The repetitive‘s’ sounds recreates an image of the soldier walking through mud. The word ‘khaki’ suggests that the person being described is a soldier as it is normally associated with the military uniforms. The word ‘heavy’ suggests that the soldier is uncomfortable and his movements are unnatural. The word ‘stumbling’ suggests that the soldier is disoriented and could also suggest that his movements are clumsy.
Another way language is used to present conflict is through the use of similes. For example, “Sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest”. The phrase ‘molten iron’ suggests a burning, abject terror at the heart of his being.
On the other hand, “The Charge of the Light Brigade” uses metaphors such as “Valley of Death” to present conflict. This phrase forebodes the charge as it makes it sound certain that the soldiers are going to die. It also suggests the commander has made a mistake as he has sent them into the ‘valley of death’. This makes the soldiers more courageous as they are marching into their own deaths. It also creates the allusion to psalm, where faith instils courage in the face of death.