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Examine closely the role of Raleigh

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Examine closely the role of Raleigh Throughout the play, 'Journey's End', R.C. Sherriff provides a range of characters portraying different personalities and backgrounds. One of these characters is a boy called Raleigh. The dramatic intention of this character is to symbolise the youth and naivety of the many young officers who died during trench warfare. In addition he is used as a dramatic tool to reveal emotions and create tension. The clearest and more obvious role of Raleigh is to symbolise youth. Even before Raleigh arrives at the front line the officer, Hardy, is willing to welcome a young officer, '...a youngster straight from school. They're the kind that do best.' In this phrase, R.C. Sherriff is implying that new young officers are eager, with few responsibilities and do not know much at all about the war. Raleigh is a symbol for the many young men who were brainwashed in schools with propaganda in order to try to encourage them to join the army. As the play advances there are clear signs of these traits in Raleigh. ...read more.


This yet again portrays Raleigh's na�ve role in the play. Afterwards, Raleigh talks about his uncle, a General back in England, who assigns officers to regiments. Then Raleigh is foolish enough to say, 'I went to see him on the quiet and asked him if he could get me into this battalion... - and next day I was told I was coming to this battalion. Funny, wasn't it?' Even Stanhope says 'Extraordinary coincidence!' Nepotism has clearly been shown towards Raleigh and it is obvious that his uncle meant to send him to the front line where Stanhope was stationed. During this exchange of words not only is Raleigh's symbolic role as a decent but na�ve youth revealed but we also feel a sense of dramatic tension being built up so he has a role as a catalyst in a dramatic sense. At the end of the play Raleigh dies. This is not only ironic as he has been in the trenches for only three days, but it also shows wasted life and opportunity. In my opinion, the writer, R.C Sherriff has written this event in order to show the true reality of war. ...read more.


Raleigh is also used to show the changes in attitude towards war. He arrives at the trenches eager and ready to fight as if the whole war were a game. However, eventually he experiences the reality of war after Osborne dies. In turn Stanhope is given a sense that life is ruined even though he tries to block out his emotions by drinking more. Furthermore we are given the impression that it was Raleigh's fault until the end of the play when Stanhope's true emotions are uncovered when Raleigh is dying after being hit by a piece of shrapnel in the trenches. Overall, it is possible to see that Raleigh has various roles throughout the play. He is not only a symbol of youth but he also fulfils the role of the na�ve inexperienced character whom we all pity, like the many young men who did die during the war. Furthermore he also has a dramatic impact acting as a catalyst to reveal the true emotions of others and to create a build up of tension that ties in with the build up to the big raid at the end. ...read more.

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