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Discuss the presentation of Osborne. How does he illustrate the issues which anger R.C Sherriff?

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Sarah Leighton October, 2001 'Journey's End' by R.C Sherriff. Discuss the presentation of Osborne. How does he illustrate the issues which anger R.C Sherriff? When Sherriff constructed the character of Osborne he created a man that the audience would dread to lose. Sherriff gives Osborne barely any negative points and incorporates more admirable aspects in him that in any of the other characters encountered. During the conversations between characters more personal history is learnt about Osborne than the other officers with him so that the audience feel that they know him. There are many sides of Osborne displayed for the audience and each one further highlights the waste of his life and lives of good men like him. When he first arrives on stage his conversation with Hardy states their situation and also introduces Stanhope's character. The way that Osborne defends Stanhope's and his drinking troubles in this first scene shows him to be a very understanding man and a particularly loyal friend, though men like Hardy simply see him as the one who must 'put [Stanhope] to bed when he gets home'. ...read more.


Even though Hardy and Osborne disagree on many subjects Hardy still recognises his qualities. 'you ought to be commanding this company...what a dear level-headed old thing you are'. The other officers and the way they communicate with him continuously reinforce the opinion that Osborne is a genuine friend. They often refer to him as 'Uncle' and only as 'Sir' in front of the men, which shows him to be quite relaxed about his position. His close relationship with Stanhope is quickly recognised by the audience, but then he takes young Raleigh under his wing as a newcomer and really displays his kindness and qualities as a friend. Like most upper-class men at that time Osborne still had some sense of feeling superior over the working class like Trotter and Mason. Trotter, after being inspired by a patch of sunlight, describes to Osborne his garden in the summer time and 'the 'ite of the 'olly'ock' that grew there one year. ...read more.


One more point to be noted is that Osborne is in his early forties. Hardy comments that Stanhope is nearly twenty-one and that Osborne is 'twice his age'. This means that being older than forty-one he had enlisted by choice. Not only is Osborne portrayed as a man who would be an asset to any community, but he also was selfless enough to voluntarily give up the life he worked so hard for. After exposing the audience to this valuable man Sherriff could utilise the closeness that the audience develops with him to show his views on the waste of life during the First World War. Having given Osborne so many admirable qualities his death is not just titled 'Soldier of the Great War' but it is treated as a real and close tragedy. Sherriff could finally show the ignorant public at home his beliefs and what their loved ones had really died for, and they were horrified. ...read more.

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