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Explain how much of the emotion in the play comes from the relationship between Raleigh and Stanhope, both of whom have the sympathy of the audience. What makes the barrier between them so poignant and how is it removed at the end?

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Introduction

Journey's End - R.C. Sherriff Explain how much of the emotion in the play comes from the relationship between Raleigh and Stanhope, both of whom have the sympathy of the audience. What makes the barrier between them so poignant and how is it removed at the end? Journey's end is a play set in the final year of the First World War. The action takes place entirely in one location. This location is A dug-out in the British trenches before St. Quentin. The play opens on the evening of Monday, the 18^th march 1918. On stage the audience can see the inside of a dimly lit dug-out, a table, wooden boxes serving as stools as well as bottles holding candles. This glum scene is the setting for the majority of the play. The play opens with a meeting between lieutenant Osbourne, who is second in command to Captain Stanhope and Captain Hardy whose company Stanhope's men are relieving from their spell of duty in the front line. Captain Hardy is quite a useless commander is the image that is portrayed at the beginning of the play. Lieutenant Osbourne appears to be annoyed by Captain Hardy's lack of efficiency. This is shown when Hardy tells Osbourne about the trench stores, the rifle grenades in particular (Hardy) "Besides, they are rusty, in any case' Also when Hardy says there are '34 gum boots' Osbourne replies (Osbourne) ...read more.

Middle

(Hardy) "And don't forget about the big attack" Instead of welcoming Raleigh Stanhope rejects him. Stanhope's fear of Raleigh exposing him causes him to be very unfriendly towards Raleigh and paranoid. (Stanhope) "It's no good, Uncle. Didn't you see him sitting there at supper? - Staring at me? - and wondering? He's up in those trenches now - still wondering - and beginning to understand." This paranoia and distrust of Raleigh causes Stanhope to make irrational decisions and therefore he decides to censor his letters so Raleigh cannot write bad things about him. (Stanhope) "Wants to write home and tell Madge all about me. Well, he won't; d'you see, uncle? He won't write. Censorship! I censor his letters - cross out all he says about me." When Stanhope comes to take Raleigh's letter to censor it he becomes desperate and is extremely hostile and cold towards his old friend. (Stanhope) "D'you understand an order? Give me that letter!" (Raleigh) "But I tell you - there's nothing -" Stanhope clutches Raleigh's wrist and tears the letter from his hand. This shows the level to which Stanhope has stooped. When Osbourne reads Raleigh's letter to Stanhope however, we discover that he still has nothing but praise for his old friend. This makes us admire Raleigh because he really does show he is a true friend of Stanhope and does not betray his trust or have a bad word to say about him, despite his unfriendly and cold behaviour towards Raleigh. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stanhope orders the sergeant-major to bring Raleigh down to the dug-out and he comforts him. (Stanhope) "Steady, old boy. Just lie there quietly for a bit." It becomes a apparent at this moment that all is put right between Raleigh and Stanhope as they do not argue and Stanhope comforts and nurses Raleigh in his final moments. (Stanhope) "it's quite alright Jimmy" Stanhope takes on the role as Raleigh's guardian, watching over him as his job was before the War. There are no hard feelings and the two both make up for their argument. (Raleigh) "It's awfully decent of you to bother, Dennis. I feel rotten lying here - everybody else - up there." (Stanhope) " it's not your fault, Jimmy." The play ends with the explosion of a German bomb upon the roof of the dug-out. It puts out the candle, which Stanhope brought for Raleigh whose eyesight was failing. The significance of this ending is that impending death is often symbolised by the extinguishing of fire. As with the death of Osbourne earlier in the play (Osbourne) "I do hate leaving a pipe when it's got a nice glow on the top like that." My personal opinion of the play is it is good because it conveys its message of the true horror of War well. It stirred my emotions by displaying the grim reality of War and the effects the circumstances had on the men. It is especially emotive, as the story of the two main characters is so poignant. ...read more.

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