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Symbol Analysis

These sabers the Light Brigade carries are a great symbol of their heroism and the power. On the one hand, there's something noble and a little crazy about charging a cannon with a sword. On the other hand, they do some real damage with these sabres, at least according to Tennyson.

  • Line 27: Soldiers mounted on horses have always had a kind of romantic image. A knight in shining armor would never walk, would he? Prince Charming always shows up on a horse, and if he has to slay a dragon, he does it with his sword. Tennyson didn't know about Disney cartoons, but we think he was definitely tapping into the romance of the mounted warrior, figures like King Arthur and his knights. The flashing sabres make these guys sound pretty darn cool, as far as we're concerned.
  • Line 29: Now the soldiers in the Light Brigade aren't just waving the swords around; they're using them to kill their enemies. This is important. According to Tennyson's version of the story, the Brigade didn't just make a brave charge and get slaughtered – they also killed many of their enemies, enemies who were better equipped than them (these enemies have guns, you know). Here the sabre becomes a symbol of the power of the British army.
  • Line 35: Another moment where it looks like the Russians are getting the rough end of this fight. In the end it's implied that the English lost badly in this battle, but right here it seems like the sabres are doing their work.

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