A Comparison of The Patriot by Robert Browning and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson

A Comparison of The Patriot by Robert Browning and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson
?The Patriot? by Robert Browning and ? The Charge of the Light Brigade? by Alfred Lord Tennyson both illustrate two individual views on the Crimean war. ?The Patriot? is written in the first person using ?I? which portrays the poem as more personal. It is written in the past tense and recalls the speakers? view of the war, whereas ?The Charge of the Light Brigade? is written in the third person but also in the past tense. Both poems take us the reader from the events during the war to after the war and both poets try and convey their feelings and emotions concerning the war. Robert Browning, through his poem, suggests that he was ?burgled? in the metaphorical sense. During the war he was viewed and treated as a hero and patriot. ?Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun?. He fought the war for his country ?To give it my loving friends to keep?, keeping it safe and protecting it for his friends and people of his country. During that time war was glorified and men who went to fight for ?Queen and country? were greatly respected heroes and thought highly of and the men who fed these images of how they would be viewed as heroes through propaganda. The increasing positive tone in the first two stanzas reflects this, and shows that the speaker enjoyed being viewed as this. Alfred Lord Tennyson also appears to explore the theme of patriotism and the idea of men fighting heroically in his poem.
He portrays the ?Charge of the Light Brigade? as brave, using words like ?onward?, ?forward? and ?charge? to display this. This suggests the men were continually battling on against ?the valley of death?. By using such exaggerated terms to express war, the poem is able to demonstrate how brave the men actually were. Alfred Lord Tennyson repeatedly uses heightened language and by using this technique he effectively gets his point across to the reader. Tennyson?s poem was based on a newspaper account describing a battle. The article glorified the slaughter of the men, but Tennyson allowed himself to be carried along by the patriotism abounding at the time. The commander didn?t understand the orders given to him to replace some guns held by the Russians and he sent the Light Brigade up the wrong valley, ?the valley of death?, to which the soldiers faced a certain death. Tennyson ?talks down? the major mistake, all that had happened is " Someone had blundered". In the third stanza of Robert Browning?s poem the tone changes from a positive to a negative, more bitter regretful tone. To display how he went from hero to war criminal after the war, the author uses the same imagery but expresses it in a negative tone. From, the simile, "The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway" evoking to the reader the immense amount of support he received, to in the fourth stanza, ?There?s nobody on the house tops now? evidently representing the transition between the war itself and post war, where "There?s nobody", indicating his support is gone, and the tone suggests that the speaker is bitter about this. This makes us the reader feel ashamed rather than sorry, because of the fickleness of the public response to the hero?s actions and services to his country. Under each stanza, Tennyson uses repetition ?the six hundred?. The repetition changes in the fourth stanza and from then on it no longer conforms to the pattern as before ?rode the six hundred? suggesting how strongly everyone was supporting them. Towards the end this changes to ?Not the six hundred?, then ending with "Noble six hundred". The transition between the two represents death, as after death they are viewed as noble because they died fighting for their country. This indicates a more positive end to the poem, but the poem views war itself as a monster dragging the men helplessly into "the jaws of Death" and ?mouth of hell?. In the second stanza of ?Charge of The Light Brigade?, Tennyson uses alliteration, ?Theirs but to do and die?, by using this technique he is able to demonstrate the inevitability of them dieing, but at the same time, the glory of them doing. This line describes the whole poem, it?s a poem about innocent men doing something that is almost certainly ill fated, and dieing for their cause. The verbs used by Tennyson in the poem are very important to give this effect. Tennyson frequently uses the term ?jaws of death?, ?mouth of hell? and ?valley of death? to portray what the speaker viewed war as. This suggests that entering war itself was going to death, and by using the words ?mouth? ad ?jaws? death is portrayed as a monster and personifies it, and this indicates the soldiers are swallowed up by death itself. Using the word death in the first stanza gives it a cadaverous nature and evokes to the reader how negatively the speaker viewed war. ?The Patriot? is a hero?s story of the reward and punishment dealt to the speaker for his services within one year "this very day, now a year is run". The poem starts with ?it was roses, roses all the way?, which is a very positive tone. Roses are stereotypically red, linking to blood, war and anger. This link shows that the speaker viewed war as pleasant because of the fact they were viewed as heroes. The poem states, ?A rope cut both my wrists behind? evidently showing he was being held as a war criminal after the war. The poem represents how views changed from fighting the war being glorified to criminal after the war when the deeds which were once glorified were reviewed and seen as bad, hence him being held as a criminal. ?The Charge of the Light Brigade? represents a ?before and after? view of the battle to evoke the effect of the battle to the reader. Evidence of this can be found when the poem says in a literal sense ?Canon in front of them? indicating they were entering the battle to ?Cannon behind them? as the poem looks back on the war and Robert Browning takes us the reader on a journey through the battle, looking back on how bold and brave the men were. ?O the wild charge they made? honours all ?six hundred? men, and even after death Tennyson glorifies them ?When can their glory fade?? representing how highly the speaker viewed these men. Both poems represent war in a negative way. In the case of Robert browning, how it changed the speakers life from being thrown from one extreme to the next, a hero to a criminal and how the war robbed him of his previous glorification. In the case of Alfred Lord Tennyson, robbing bold brave men of their lives ?devouring? them into "The valley of death". The readers of both poems know that these men were blindly motivated by loyalty and a sense of duty, and because of this they paid the price of their own lives. I think both poets are effective in evoking the passionate feelings and purpose across to the reader and they both, in their own individual ways, truly demonstrate how destructive and devastating war really is, yet still the fighting continues today in Iraq, Ireland, Afghanistan, Israel, Rwanda, the list is endless, as is war. When will we learn that all war brings is death, pain and destruction?

A Comparison of The Patriot by Robert Browning and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson 8.2 of 10 on the basis of 1012 Review.