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Discuss the role of the character Bamforth and how he changes in the play 'the Long and the Short and the Tall' by Willis Hall

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Discuss the role of the character Bamforth and how he changes in the play 'the Long and the Short and the Tall' by Willis Hall Private Bamforth is an arrogant soldier from London who pays no respect to authority. He is racist, well educated, aggressive, and seeks argument wherever possible. Bamforth stands out in the patrol as he always hopes to be the center of attention and nearly participates in every single conversation. In the first part of the play, the author uses Bamforth to induce humour into the drama. Bamforth stands out with his arrogance, thoughtfulness and argumentativeness. Even before he speaks, Bamforth informs the reader that he has problems with authority. The first thing he does when the patrol gets into the hut is to "shrug off his pack, place it as a pillow and make himself comfortable". This is done deliberately, seeking confrontation with Johnstone. He is not intimidated by Johnstone's authority and continues to fake ignorance of Johnstone's fury. Johnstone demands that he "get on his feet" and ordered Bamforth to put his pack on his back, he "heaves (suggesting slow, sluggish movement contrasted by Johnstone's fiery impatience) ...read more.


Mitchem is an experienced soldier and has better measure of Bamforth, and to Mitchem, Bamforth is more predictable: "I've met your kind before." To show superior understanding of Bamforth, Mitchem also mentions that Bamforth "come it on with every junior N.C.O. that's been made up. The barrack-room lawyer (he had learned the army rules by heart to use it on the authority)" Bamforth's attitude towards war and the army is cynical. Bamforth is an anti-hero; he shatters every positive thought of others and crushes it into something negative. He refers to the patrol as "the crumb patrol" and sees it as a routine rather than training. According to him, he will go straight through Kew Gardens and "nip off in one of them boats" like the locals when the Japanese come. Although he is unlikely to do such a thing, it conveys to the audience Bamforth's self-centeredness and lack of loyalty towards his country. Initially, Bamforth's relation with the Japanese prisoner is similar to that between master and pet, he identifies the "nips" as animals. ...read more.


Bamforth is the main character during the whole play. In the first part of the play, he is brightens the play with humour. The author intentionally changes Bamforth from the anti-hero to the in preparation for the climax of the play. In the end, he is used to present the ideas towards war of Willis Halls to the audience. The realities of war are to do something one does not believe in, to follow orders without question. War is conflict and isolation. The Japanese soldier does not want to die, but much of the audience will not care about one who doesn't even know English properly and does not speak a word during the whole play, inducing Bamforth to oppose his death greatly emphasizes the significance of his death. The whole patrol's opposition towards him again conveys conflict. The Japanese soldier's inability to talk and the state of the patrol being surrounded by each of their enemies conveys isolation. His presence represents conflict between humanity and necessity. In the end both are lost, the Japanese prisoner dies, but neither can Mitchem save the patrol conveying the violence and cold-bloodedness of war. ...read more.

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