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How Effective is the Ending of

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"Occasionally an anti-climax can be surprisingly effective" - Andrew Crocker Harris How Effective is the Ending of Terence Rattigan's 'The Browning Version'? A darkening room, a darkening marriage - these appear to be the settings for the end of Terence Rattigan's public school tragedy; but are things turning for the brighter? The way the script cuts off whilst casserole is being served, leaves the audience speculating over Arthur and Millie's future. But does leaving questions unanswered benefit the play as a whole? Does the anticlimax and lack of 'happily ever after' leave the audience feeling unfulfilled, confused, or even annoyed? Just how effective is the ending of the play? As already stated, the play leaves questions open. One of the effects of this is the creation of a hunger for more amongst the audience or reader. The play that has gripped them for the last hour has just 'vanished' at a rather mundane point of the assumed plot. There is an element of catharsis: Will he swallow his old-fashioned pride and stand up for himself? The telephone conversation with Frobisher suggests a renewed in confidence in Andrew and give us hope: "........ ...read more.


- Millie To add to this, the winter of 1948 was the coldest year on record resulting in further food shortages and harsher economic times as families tried to stay warm. We learn a great deal about the characters in this story. They shape the plot therefore they must take roles for the story to progress. As a result our opinions of them vary throughout the play. Millie first appears to be a quick witted, powerful woman who, perhaps not so surprisingly by her accounts of her 'failure' "......Why is he (Gilbert) a schoolmaster......." "........You can't hurt Andrew. He's dead......." and 'emotionally dead' husband, is having an affair. However, we learn that she is a cruel and deceitful woman, who has betrayed Andrew many times, who enjoys spitefully picking away at her husband's self-esteem. Likewise, before Andrew is on stage we can believe Millie's accounts and the idea of a tyrannical 'Himler of the Lower-Fifth' (as he is later named) comes to mind. However as soon as he is introduced we meet a modest, hardworking man who is heartbroken through a combination of Millie's hatred of him, and a failure to inspire his Classics pupils, in the way he was inspired. ...read more.


The acting was superb, and the redemption firstly of Millie who, in classic Hollywood style, apologises for her behaviour saying that Taplow's impression 'wasn't very good' and her arrival at prise-giving after announcing she wouldn't be attending confirms this. The redemption of Andrew at prize giving doesn't weaken the story and in my opinion is much more fulfilling than the ending of the play. The films both do well to interpret the story, and make it more visually interesting, as the stage version is set in one room, with no scenery change, and an hour of almost uninterrupted dialogue. I was moved by the ending of 'The Browning Version'; and in my opinion, whilst it is frustrating for the audience it is effective to use an anti-climax for three reasons. Firstly, it is unconventional and this attracts more viewers than a standard tragedy. Furthermore, if Andrew completely overcomes Millie in a final fit of rage and emotion the ending will be decided there can be no element of catharsis and it wouldn't be a tragedy. And finally, if the audience walks away without asking questions or speculating the play will be less memorable or interesting to discuss. ...read more.

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