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In Journeys End R C Sherriff skilfully orchestrates a complex pattern of tensions. Trace the development of these at key moments showing how they are dramatically effective.

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Sam Vincent In Journeys End R C Sherriff skilfully orchestrates a complex pattern of tensions. Trace the development of these at key moments showing how they are dramatically effective. Journeys End was written by R C Sherriff, and is set in a trench during the First World War. The way Sherriff structures this piece of work, is very unusual as it does not stick to one kind of atmosphere, he switches between pathos, humour and many different types of tension. It is a clever the way he manages to write so many tensions into his work, as the background to the story is The War. The plays main characters create these tensions by the way they act around each other, they are; Stanhope, the Companies commander in chief, but still despite this ranking he is still nothing better and a tall, slimly built boy with broad shoulders, he is never without a high percentage of alcohol in his bloodstream and is hiding something from the others, below the surface of his skin, as we are told by Osborne when he speaks "something happened, I am unsure of what it was, a silly little argument, when suddenly he jumped to his feet and knocked the table over, the glasses spilled. He lost all control over himself and then suddenly he came round and cried real tears." Osborne, 'Uncle' to the company members was second in command, just as capable and a lot older than Stanhope. ...read more.


The letter is taken from Raleigh by Stanhope and given orders to leave the room, in the description given by Sherriff, the audience is left with no doubt that Raleigh is gravely disappointed with the man he once saw as his hero. When the letter is torn open by Stanhope, he breaks down and says he is unable to read the words that may have been spoken, so Osborne offers to read it to him. Both Stanhope and the tension are relieved when Osborne informs him, that there is nothing but his good side written about, how he is said to be the finest officer in the battalion, by far the hardest worker and how proud he is to be known as one of Stanhope's best friends. After the completion of the passage, the lowered heads can only point to one ting and that is pure and utter shame upon Stanhope and he begins to look at himself in a different light from that point onwards. The next feeling of real tension only involves Stanhope and the want away officer Hibbert. Hibbert claims to be suffering from an in diagnosable disease called Neuralgia. The play makes you think that Hibbert is making it up about him having contracted the disease, as he has spoken of his discontent of not being allowed sick leave. When Hibbert moans about his sickness to Stanhope, he dismisses it without thought and says it nothing. ...read more.


been happy with Raleigh being there from the very beginning, Stanhope struggles to find his breath and the order is blared at Raleigh with no hesitation, which cancels out the tension that was in the room. The big attack is upon the battalion and Hibbert once again is resenting the fact that he has to go up into the trench and fight. He has a very pale and unwell complexion at this point, but tries to remove the fact of the attack by drinking glasses of water. He is one of the last men to reach the trench front as the sound of shells get increasingly louder and closer, but during the talk between Stanhope and himself, he comes round to the idea and walks up the stairs into the trench for the last time with a petit smile upon his brightening face. The title Journeys end only leads to one conclusion, the end of life's journey. The tension never really left the play, and we are always reminded of it through the fact that there is a war on during the whole play. There is only one set for the whole play and that is the dugout where all of the acts and scenes take place. The tension embedded itself into the play and never leaves the story, but it only bubbles to the surface every so often. It is an excellently written play, as Sherriff manages to stitch tension, pathos and also the odd bit of humour into the play without, it ever getting to complex to understand. ...read more.

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