The two poems that I am going to be studying are ‘The Charge Of The Light Brigade’ and ‘Anthem of Doomed Youth, both which are war poems.’ The Charge Of The Light Brigade was written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in 1854 after reading a report about the war event in the Times newspaper. He was often regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry. As he wrote The Charge Of The Light Brigade, the poem was his view on the event as he was not there at the time of the war crisis. Furthermore, Anthem For Doomed Youth was written much later in 1917 by Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, regarded by some of the leading poets in the First World War. Wilfred was a soldier and had been injured in the front line of battle therefore was writing his poem in Craig Lockhare hospital in Edinburgh. Tennyson’s war poem is a narrative whereas Wilfred Owen’s war poem is a sonnet. Originally, Wilfred’s draft poem was named Anthem for Dead Youth, but he changed the title soon after.
Alfred, lord Tennyson’s narrative is very descriptive within it’s depth. As the poet was not at the scene of the war, he is telling a story. The poems plot is about six hundred, noble soldiers at war fighting, making their country proud. Nevertheless, Wilfred Owen’s sonnet is the complete reverse as he opposes to that and portrays that fighting for your country can be a nasty and horrific thing. Anthem For Doomed Youth has a regular rhyme scheme. As most sonnets occur in love poems, Wilfred Owen’s poem has a theme on war and killing. Wilfred’s poem is very descriptive because he is trying to get a message across to the reader. Furthermore, Tennyson’s poem uses a lot of metaphors and uses them effectively as to why it is a narrative.
Anthem Of Doomed Youth is a poem that is written in depth. It is based on how fighting for your country can be immense and nasty and how the brave soldiers who died had a great lack of pride. Their funeral services of the soldiers that died were very poor and yet some did not even get funerals. The soldiers were being killed namelessly. Also, the families were not as much involved and were given a poor respect. Wilfred Owen had fought on the war but because of his injury, he had to sustain it. He knew what the war was like and how bad it was. He is describing the poem not only as he imagines, but also how he remembers it. This differs hugely in the Charge Of The Light Brigade as the respect could have not been given anymore as the poem is telling you how the six hundred soldiers defeated a large army with less men. It starts off with a general making a bad decision yet the soldiers have it obey the orders. The outcome soon comes out to be that the decision was correct and that the soldiers had made their enemy retreat, causing them to win the battle.
Throughout the poem, the soldiers are generally being praised on their bravery and courage fighting in the battle. The poet expresses the poem in his own unique impression as if he were there using onomatopoeia. The description of both poems lead you further into them.
The attitude in the poem Anthem For Doomed Youth is very negative towards war. It does not support the fact that it is great and that it is proud to fight for your country. He also uses some empathy to add his feeling at the start of the poem. It reads
‘…For these who die as cattle?’
Wilfred Owen is saying this because hem means soldiers are dying like cattle, namelessly. When the soldiers die, no one cares thereafter despite the family.
Nevertheless, The Charge Of The Light Brigade strongly supports the attitude towards war, as the narrative is very positive on the army defeating the enemy.
‘Boldly they rode and well.’
By saying boldly, it gives you a impression of a bold, strong army.
‘Honour the light brigade, Noble six hundred!’
These two lines were the last two lines of the poem. Not only does the poem exceed throughout positively, but it ends on a good note as well. This quote is saying a lot of things. When in a war poem, this is implying that the army has won and that they are great, but it is not always like that as seen in Anthem For Doomed Youth. The attitude in Tennyson’s poem does not have any negative points therefore may be biased as a lot of things in war are negative. The poet may be portraying one side of the story. Each Stanza in the poem ends with a line including ‘the six hundred.’ The beginning paragraph includes a line saying
‘Into the valley of death…’
This sound quite horrible but the next line exclaims
‘Rode the six hundred.’
This line is used in repetition throughout. This phrase is very effective because after each paragraph, the reader imagines an army of six hundred noble soldiers going to battle.
Both of the creative poems combined use a lot of imagery. Starting with Anthem For Doomed Youth, the metaphors and personification is used near the start of the poem. The second line explains
…’Monstrous anger of the guns.’
This is trying to say that the guns are being shot rapidly and loudly. The guns are not literally monstrous but they are being described as monstrous because they are killing men and mowing down lines. In The Charge Of The Light Brigade, a repetitive metaphor is used through the poem saying
‘Valley of death.’
This is implying that the soldiers are going into a treacherous valley, which caves in on both sides by the other army. The quote mentions death, which is horrid. This would be the like the situation the army would be in. As well, another phrase used is
‘Mouth of hell.’
The word mouth would relate to an entrance. (As if you are going in.) The entrance would be as dreadful as purgatory. The poet is trying to make you imagine the scene by using more another detailed metaphor.
A small variety of language is used in Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem. The tone is the main source of language. At the start, the tone is at a very high point and quite encouraging. As the poem goes on, the tone stays the same and then eventually, finishes on a high note. The beginning reads
‘Forward the light brigade! “Charge the for the guns!” He said’
The quotes used are most likely from a captain giving orders to attack. Tennyson’s sonnet uses some alliteration quite effectively describing the weapons, which in this case are guns. He describes the rifles as
‘Rifles rapid rattle’
The rifles would be rattling rapidly because of all the shooting.
There are two stanzas in Anthem For Doomed Youth. Each stanza has a regular rhyme scheme causing the poem on a whole to have a regular rhyme scheme. The line lengths in comparison to Tennyson’s poem are slightly lengthier with five to nine words in each line. One line followed by another in the poem is as read
‘Their flowers the tenderness of patients minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.’
The structure is quite simple in each stanza. Moving on to Tennyson’s poem, the rhyme scheme is quite opposite to Wilfred Owen’s. There is an irregular rhyme scheme. The line length has a shorter number of words, which mainly consist around 6 words in each line. Because there are a fewer number of words in each line, you would tend to read the poem quicker therefore the tempo would be faster than Anthem For Doomed Youth.
‘Forward the light brigade.’
This is one short line from the poem.
Overall, both poems are very effective and they portray this in their own way. Firstly, I think that the message in The Charge Of The Light Brigade is that the size of something does not matter. It is quality rather than quantity. This is explained in the whole of the poem and is based on how just six hundred soldiers defeat a larger army. The style is quite appropriate for the message yet the ‘enemy’ is not detailed enough. Nevertheless, the poem does make you think and creates an image in your mind of the war scene with all the sophisticated imagery and language used. As to Wilfred Owen’s Anthem For Doomed Youth, the message is written quite literally on how the lack of respect and pride that the brave soldiers had in the First World War. The style relates to the message appropriately because although the poet might be explaining the message in a sad and miserable way, which gives you a sad feeling, yet what he is saying was true. The poet goes quite deep into the realism of life in the war.
In my opinion, the conclusion about the poems, are that they have a very deep and meaningful message, as they are based on real life.