Tennyson's Poems

Tennyson's Use of Poetic Technique

While Tennyson has been labeled "The Poet of the People," and has enjoyed much success as a writer of "public poetry," his poems are ironically very private. Much of his success may be attributed to his gift for making his poetry appeal to a large audience. This accomplishment is made possible by his extensive use of technique to serve a larger poetic function.

"The Charge of the Light Brigade" is an excellent example how Tennyson uses a structural technique to serve a larger poetic function. The structure of the entire poem is indeed essential to its theme. Like the story to which it refers, the poem has a definite beginning, middle and end. The beginning, consisting of stanzas 1 and 2, corresponds to the order (lines 5 and 6: "Forward the Light Brigade! / Charge for the guns!"), and the advancement of the brigade. The middle, consisting of stanzas 3 and 4, is characterized by the clashing of the brigade and the artillery, and the consequent slaying of the soldiers. The end, consisting of stanzas 5 and 6, is characterized by the retreat of the remaining soldiers, and the narrator's reflection, respectively. However, while this division of the stanzas appears balanced at a glance,...

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