The Charge of the Light Brigade
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Jaws of Death
When you give human or animal features to an idea like death, that's called personification. That's an important technique here, because it turns death into a kind of character in this poem. It's not just the name of a valley anymore – it becomes a living thing ready to gobble these guys up. We think it's key to notice that Tennyson capitalizes the word Death – another way to emphasize its importance.
- Line 24: This poem is full of little variations on a theme. There aren't a hundred completely different images and ideas. Instead, there's a kind of play with different ways of saying the same thing. Saying the Brigade rode into the "jaws of Death" isn't completely different from "the valley of Death," but it does make a difference. Those jaws are scary.
- Line 46: Also, check out how much this poem repeats its imagery. It's a major way of building the overall rhythm. Tennyson establishes the key elements, and then hammers them home repeatedly. It's a way of keeping us focused on the simple, tragic facts. Now, all of a sudden, we're back out the other side. At least a few of the soldiers have escaped the jaws.