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The Long and the Short and the Tall - dramatic techniques used

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Introduction

The Long and the Short and the Tall During this play there are dramatic techniques used by Willis Hall to present the moral dilemma faced by the British soldiers during the drama. Willis Hall prompts us to think about the rights and wrongs of war and the death of the Japanese prisoner. He does this in more ways than one but I'm going to focus on one point exactly: the point in which he constructs a scenario in which the Japanese prisoner has British cigarettes on him; this has to be one of the most dramatic scenes within the play and it covers all of the soldiers views on the prisoner. This whole situation is set during World War 2 in the Malayan jungle over a period of a couple of hours this is relevant to all wars and conflict: if one thing hasn't changed over the years it's conflict. This is very good because it gives the play a kind of "real time" effect; bringing the audience in and making them feel like a part of the play. There aren't long periods of time in which the audience have no idea what happens; what happens happens in front of their eyes and there ...read more.

Middle

The very ending of the play is also very tense and ironic because with the death of the prisoner alerts the other Japanese and thus causes the death of all the other soldiers except Johnstone who in turn surrenders quite like the prisoner before hand "waves the white flag". Johnstone is also one of the soldiers who treated the prisoner with the least amount of respect and care; treat someone how you would want to be treated. When Johnstone sees that the prisoner has a cigarette he asks Macleish inquisitively if he has "been keeping him in smokes". Macleish says that he has not and that the prisoner has his own and gave one to Macleish. This alarms Johnstone and he checks the cigarette out and only to find that it's a "blighty fag". Immediately Macleish, Mitchem and Johnstone accuse the prisoner of looting from British soldiers up country. This makes us think that this prisoner is not so innocent or comical at all; it makes us want him dead and the three that know about it first also want to kill him. This dramatic device is used in such a way that it radically changes the view on the soldier for Macleish; throughout most of the book Macleish tries to treat the prisoner as a human. ...read more.

Conclusion

This plot twist and dramatic device tries to make the audience also feel the same guilt as Macleish as the previous dramatic device tried to make them hate the prisoner. At this very moment the suspected audience's emotions are tied in with Macleish's emotions. There are so many dramatic devices and so many different ways in which Willis Hall gets us to actually think about something instead of just letting our minds rot and it really gives the play a sense of actuality. The way in which he has presented this has brought it to life, the characters to life and even the jungle to life. This isn't some far-fetched story it could of happened to your grandfather. With the moral dilemma being huge: to kill the prisoner or not. The soldiers react differently and really only one of them realise that he is in fact a human being. This play lets you decide for yourself how you would treat the prisoner and whether or not if you agree with the ideals of the soldiers and whether or not about the rights and wrongs of killing the Japanese soldier. Willis Hall has created a play which will be relevant as long there is war and has made anyone who read it think differently on how they act towards others. ...read more.

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