From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Charge of the Light Brigade

The Charge of the Light Brigade

  

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Charge of the Light Brigade Theme of Respect and Reputation

Tennyson doesn't write "The Charge of the Light Brigade" because it's a good story, or because he just thinks you'd be kind of interested.  He wants to accomplish something specific.  He wants the memory of the anonymous men of the Light Brigade to live forever.  You know what?  It worked. We guarantee that you would never have heard about the Light Brigade in the Crimean War if it weren't for this poem, and now you're part of the tradition of remembering these men.

Questions About Respect and Reputation

  1. By honoring soldiers who die like this, do we let their leaders off the hook for the "blunders" they might have made?
  2. Does Tennyson push too hard in that last section?  Do you think you would have gotten the point without the final message telling you how to feel?
  3. Does the poem "work" for you?  Do you feel respect for the Light Brigade?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Tennyson's poem carefully balances his respect for the Light Brigade with an honest acknowledgement of the horror and the folly of war.

With the exception of one mention of how the officers "blundered," Tennyson has nothing to say about why these men died, and for what.  All he leaves us with is a glorification of the Light Brigade and of war in general.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement