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Discuss The Changes In The Character Of Bamforth In The Play 'The Long, The Short and The tall', by Willis Hall

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Introduction

Discuss The Changes In The Character Of Bamforth In The Play The character of Bamforth in the play 'The Long, The Short and The tall, by Willis Hall is a complex one. It seems to undergo a series of changes as the story continues, especially when the patrol come across the Japanese prisoner. The impression one gets of Bamforth from the first few pages of the play is that of confidence, almost arrogance. He does not like taking orders and has no respect for his superiors. His replies are often sarcastic and he always has to get the last word in. An early example of this is:- BAMFORTH: "Nit!" JOHNSTONE: "What was that?" BAMFORTH: "Me, I only coughed." This shows Bamforth trying to get the last word in and insult his superiors. It also shows Bamforth is often abusive, especially towards anyone in a position of authority. Bamforth also appears to be very arrogant about being from London. He mentions how tough London is several times during the play:- BAMFORTH: "You ever want to see a bloke carved up? Proper? So his missus thinks he's someone else? You send for the London Boys." This shows Bamforth saying that people from London are the best fighters. Bamforth likes to talk about fighting, as is shown here. As the story develops, this aggressiveness and hostility becomes more obvious in his character. This is an example of this:- BAMFORTH: "Come on then, you Welsh Taff! Stick me one on!" This quote shows Bamforth constantly trying to fight and constantly trying to prove how tough he is to other members of the patrol. He is willing to challenge anyone in the group and he often does. He has a fight with Evans, MacLeish, Johnstone and Mitchem in different parts of the play. He is the most argumentative member of the patrol and is always looking for reasons to begin arguing with somebody. ...read more.

Middle

When the patrol first captures the Japanese prisoner, Bamforth is the only one (apart from Mitchem and Johnstone) who is willing to kill the prisoner. Bamforth says BAMFORTH: "It's only the same as carving up a pig." This quote shows that when he first meets the Japanese prisoner, he does not view him as a human with feelings. As he knows nothing about the man, he finds it easy to believe the propaganda he has heard about the Japanese. He thinks they are evil and would do the same thing to them. The other members of the patrol seem quite patient with Bamforth at the start of the play. Eventually though, they lose their patience with him. By the end of the play, they view him as little more than a nuisance. They are constantly telling him to 'shut up' and 'pack it in'. By the end of the play, he has either had fights or nearly had fights with everyone in the group. He may be funny and entertaining at times, but only in small doses. He is obviously a complex character, with lots of different sides to his personality. However, most of what we find out about Bamforth, before he meets the Japanese prisoner, is bad. As the play progresses, we start to see a change in Bamforth's character. The Japanese prisoner ignites this apparent change in Bamforth. When Bamforth first meets the prisoner, he treats him like a circus animal, and, as previously quoted, compares him to a pig. He likes to do 'flingers on blonce', and finds it funny the prisoner obeys him. He says:- BAMFORTH "Flingers on blonce. Dlop Flingers. Get that! He dlops them like a two-year-old!" This quotes shows Bamforth bullying the prisoner and telling him to put his hands on his head. Bamforth enjoys bullying people who can not stick up for themselves (i.e Whitaker). Later in the story, Bamforth discovers the prisoner's wallet. ...read more.

Conclusion

His views of him obviously change to some extent, and he reveals to us a part of his personality we have not seen before, a caring part. In conclusion, at the beginning of the play Bamforth is an arrogant, aggressive character, that only cares about himself. He dislikes everything that is different. Welsh people, Scottish people and the Japanese. He is deeply cynical about the army and he challenges its authority at every opportunity. When he first meets the Japanese prisoner, he is the only private willing to kill the prisoner and he treats the prisoner like a circus animal. After he sees the prisoner's photos, he realizes that the prisoner is a human. After that, Bamforth is friendly towards the prisoner. Bamforth shares his cigarettes with him and offers him food and water. By the end of the play, Bamforth is the only member of the patrol willing to defend the prisoner's life. This shows dramatic change in Bamforth from the start of the play. He sticks up for somebody else, somebody who he does not know. His attitude to the Japanese has changed entirely. He has become a friend to one, and is being nice to him. However, Bamforth does not totally change. His attitude towards the prisoner changes, but his general character does not. Right at the very end of the play, he is still insulting Whitaker, rather then trying to help everyone escape from the Japanese. Instead of using reason and convincing speeches, which he may be capable of, to try and stop people killing the prisoner, he is rude and aggressive, just like he is at the start of the play. He still does not have any friends inside the group and he still challenges authority. This disrespect is clear near the end of Act Two, where Bamforth has a scuffle with Mitchem over the prisoner. Overall, Bamforth has changed in some ways, but in others, he remains exactly the same Bamforth as he was at the beginning. ...read more.

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