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Poetry about Conflict: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

In this worksheet, students read and answer questions based on the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Tennyson.

'Poetry about Conflict: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Read a Wide Range of High-Quality Texts

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

In this activity you will develop your understanding of poetry by studying a poem based on a battle that took place during the Crimean War.

The poet Alfred Tennyson (1809–1892) read a newspaper report about how the commanding officer of the Light Brigade gave the order for his cavalry (soldiers on horseback) to ride into a valley surrounded by Russian soldiers armed with guns. The Light Brigade had only swords and as such could not defend themselves against the Russians. Many of them died.

Read the following poem Tennyson wrote called 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and then answer the questions.

 

******************* 
 
The Charge of the Light Brigade
 

1
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
'Charge for the guns!' he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
 
 
2
'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
 
 
3
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
 
 
4
Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.
 
 
5
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
 
 
6
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

Canon

******************* 

Reread stanza one.

What metaphor taken from The Bible is used in this stanza to suggest that the soldiers are not going to survive this battle?

 

 

******************* 

1

Half a league half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred:

'Forward, the Light Brigade!

Charge for the guns' he said:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

Bible, vector - stock vector

******************* 

half a league

charge for the guns

the valley of Death

Reread stanza two.

What command from the commanding officer is repeated from the first stanza? And which word tells the reader that this command was a mistake? 

Tick two answers.

 

 

******************* 

2

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'

Was there a man dismay'd ?

Not tho' the soldier knew

Some one had blunder'd:

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do & die,

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

Royal horse guardsman on his horse, A mounted trooper of the Household Cavalry on duty, The Queen's Life Guard, London landmark - stock vector

******************* 

blundered

'Forward the Light Brigade!'

rode the six hundred

knew

Reread stanza three and match the following quotations with their explanations.

 

 

******************* 

3

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Volley'd & thunder'd;

Storm'd at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred.

 

BORODINO, MOSCOW REGION - SEPTEMBER 02: Reenactment of the Borodino battle between Russian and French armies in 1812 at its 200th anniversary on September 02, 2012 in Borodino, Moscow Region, Russia - stock photo

******************* 

Column A

Column B

Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, C...
Tennyson uses powerful verbs to suggest the power ...
Volley'd and thunder'd
Tennyson uses imagery to personify death and hell.
shot and shell
Tennyson admires the bravery of the soldiers.
Boldly they rode and well
The use of alliteration emphasises the sense of am...
Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell
The repetition emphasises that the soldiers are su...

Reread stanza five. This stanza begins in the same way as stanza three, but then there is a change.

 

 

******************* 

5

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volley'd and thunder'd;

Storm'd at with shot and shell,

While horse & hero fell,

They that had fought so well

Came thro' the jaws of Death,

Back from the mouth of Hell,

All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred. 

 

*******************

 

 

Complete the quotation below that shows that the soldiers are losing the battle. You should write the quotation out in full.

 

While______________fell

Reread the final stanza. Select the words which sum up how Tennyson wants the cavalry to be remembered as heroes.

Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

 

 

******************* 

6

When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wonder'd.

Honour the charge they made!

Honour the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred!

 

Military medal - stock vector

******************* 

glory

honour

wild

noble

charge

How is this poem narrated to make it sound like a story?

in the second person

in the first person

in the third person

In this poem, Tennyson creates a very strong rhythm which is present throughout the poem.

What are the three effects of this?

to mirror the sound of the horses galloping into battle

to suggest the cavalry moving forward at a fast pace

to make all the stanzas the same

to suggest the energy of the battle

Reread the final lines of each stanza.

What is the effect of the repetition of the words 'six hundred'?

emphasises the fact that the death of all these soldiers is inevitable and reinforces the sense of the scale of the battle

emphasises the fact that all the stages of the battle were the same

What feelings or attitudes about conflict are explored in this poem? Select three correct answers from the list below.

disbelief and shock at the stupidity of the command

admiration of the soldiers

pride in the General

horror at the reality of battle

This poem uses lots of violent language to communicate a strong sense of the violence of the battle.

Select six examples from the list below.

volly'd

run

thunder'd

storm'd

retreated

flash'd

plunged

shattered

  • Question 1

Reread stanza one.

What metaphor taken from The Bible is used in this stanza to suggest that the soldiers are not going to survive this battle?

 

 

******************* 

1

Half a league half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred:

'Forward, the Light Brigade!

Charge for the guns' he said:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

Bible, vector - stock vector

******************* 

CORRECT ANSWER
the valley of Death
EDDIE SAYS
'the valley of Death' is the correct answer. It is a phrase taken from the Old Testament of The Bible.
  • Question 2

Reread stanza two.

What command from the commanding officer is repeated from the first stanza? And which word tells the reader that this command was a mistake? 

Tick two answers.

 

 

******************* 

2

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'

Was there a man dismay'd ?

Not tho' the soldier knew

Some one had blunder'd:

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do & die,

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

Royal horse guardsman on his horse, A mounted trooper of the Household Cavalry on duty, The Queen's Life Guard, London landmark - stock vector

******************* 

CORRECT ANSWER
blundered
'Forward the Light Brigade!'
EDDIE SAYS
The command given by the commanding officer is 'Forward the Light Brigade!' By repeating it, the poet is showing how the men had no choice but to follow their orders.
  • Question 3

Reread stanza three and match the following quotations with their explanations.

 

 

******************* 

3

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Volley'd & thunder'd;

Storm'd at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred.

 

BORODINO, MOSCOW REGION - SEPTEMBER 02: Reenactment of the Borodino battle between Russian and French armies in 1812 at its 200th anniversary on September 02, 2012 in Borodino, Moscow Region, Russia - stock photo

******************* 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Cannon to right of them, Cannon t...
The repetition emphasises that th...
Volley'd and thunder'd
Tennyson uses powerful verbs to s...
shot and shell
The use of alliteration emphasise...
Boldly they rode and well
Tennyson admires the bravery of t...
Into the jaws of Death, Into the...
Tennyson uses imagery to personif...
EDDIE SAYS
Make sure you consider the effect of these quotations on the reader.
  • Question 4

Reread stanza five. This stanza begins in the same way as stanza three, but then there is a change.

 

 

******************* 

5

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volley'd and thunder'd;

Storm'd at with shot and shell,

While horse & hero fell,

They that had fought so well

Came thro' the jaws of Death,

Back from the mouth of Hell,

All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred. 

 

*******************

 

 

Complete the quotation below that shows that the soldiers are losing the battle. You should write the quotation out in full.

 

While______________fell

CORRECT ANSWER
While horse and hero fell
While horse & hero fell
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation that changes the tone of this stanza is: 'While horse and hero fell'. It shows how the cavalry are starting to lose the battle.
  • Question 5

Reread the final stanza. Select the words which sum up how Tennyson wants the cavalry to be remembered as heroes.

Choose as many answers as you think are correct.

 

 

******************* 

6

When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wonder'd.

Honour the charge they made!

Honour the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred!

 

Military medal - stock vector

******************* 

CORRECT ANSWER
glory
honour
noble
EDDIE SAYS
The words that show the soldiers to be heroes are 'glory', 'honour' and 'noble'. these are all very positive words and show the respect the poet has for the men.
  • Question 6

How is this poem narrated to make it sound like a story?

CORRECT ANSWER
in the third person
EDDIE SAYS
The poem is narrated in the third person which makes it sound like a story, reflecting the fact that the poet used a newspaper report as his basis for the poem.
  • Question 7

In this poem, Tennyson creates a very strong rhythm which is present throughout the poem.

What are the three effects of this?

CORRECT ANSWER
to mirror the sound of the horses galloping into battle
to suggest the cavalry moving forward at a fast pace
to suggest the energy of the battle
EDDIE SAYS
The rhythm of the poem sounds like galloping horses to reinforce the feeling of the battle as the men charged. The pace is fast to show the reader how the soldiers were moving and to reflect the energy of the battle.
  • Question 8

Reread the final lines of each stanza.

What is the effect of the repetition of the words 'six hundred'?

CORRECT ANSWER
emphasises the fact that the death of all these soldiers is inevitable and reinforces the sense of the scale of the battle
EDDIE SAYS
The repetition of the words 'six hundred' emphasises the fact that the death of all these soldiers is inevitable and reinforces the sense of the scale of the battle. The reader cannot ignore how many were killed and therefore we have more sympathy for the soldiers.
  • Question 9

What feelings or attitudes about conflict are explored in this poem? Select three correct answers from the list below.

CORRECT ANSWER
disbelief and shock at the stupidity of the command
admiration of the soldiers
horror at the reality of battle
EDDIE SAYS
The poet uses very negative language to describe the battle and those in command to show his anger at how unprepared their strategy was. However, he uses words like 'noble' to describe the soldiers, showing his admiration for them. The repetition of 'canon' throughout the poem shows how brutal the battle was.
  • Question 10

This poem uses lots of violent language to communicate a strong sense of the violence of the battle.

Select six examples from the list below.

CORRECT ANSWER
volly'd
thunder'd
storm'd
flash'd
plunged
shattered
EDDIE SAYS
These are all very explosive words to show how violent and dangerous the battle was.
---- OR ----

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