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Analysis

Mouth of Hell

Symbol Analysis

Here's another major personification. Notice that it isn't that different from the "jaws of Death." Tennyson moves in little steps here, and often loops back to the same image over and over, making tweaks each time.

  • Line 25: A powerful image of evil and fear and danger. We can almost see the smoke swirling, the fire spitting. They say war is hell, and our idea of the underworld fits pretty well with what the Light Brigade must have seen.
  • Line 47: In line 25, they are going "into the mouth" and now they are coming "Back from the mouth." Even though the phrase is the same, the change in direction also changes the image. In a way, this poem is like a film that runs forward and then backward. In the first half they charge, in the second half they retreat, but it looks pretty much the same both times. Still, we'd rather be headed out of the "mouth of hell" than straight into it.
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