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Journeys End Drama Studies

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Annie Gott By close analysis of key scenes in "Journey's End" outline and evaluate the ways in which R.C.Sherriff creates and maintains dramatic tension in this play Journeys End is a play that creates a lot of dramatic tension throughout it, and there are several ways in which the author, R.C.Sheriff, creates and maintains tension. Not only is tension created by the characters on stage, but also by various techniques including the lighting, sound and stage directions. I understand dramatic tension as the art of making the audience interested in the play that's going them on and keeping them enthralled with the story line. It is when the playwright has the ability to keep the story line fast and exciting as to keep the readers attention in the play. It makes the audience sit on the edge of their seats, eager to know what is taking place on stage. Tension is created with the general feeling of not knowing what is going to happen and not knowing characters reactions. I am also going to be writing about the context of the play. This is the background or setting of the time the piece of work was created. This will affect the content and also the values that are expressed. Before the play starts, there is a large section of stage directions which set the scene for the play. The lightning on the stage is very dim and it is very dark. This adds tension as; if we refer to the common inference, of black signifying evil, death and despair that something terrible is to happen in this play. I can also assume that there is a large amount of noise, for example, guns and planes. The standard background of the war as we know it. The first scene I am going to start with is Act I p16. This scene is the part where Raleigh is first introduced to Osborne, the company and to the audience. ...read more.


He says: "He looked at me as if I'd hit him between the eyes - as if I'd spat on him -" We know that Raleigh would not look at Stanhope like this, he idolises him and worships him. Therefore we know Stanhope is becoming delusional and this increases dramatic tension as we want to see what Raleigh has actually written. When Raleigh returns to the dugout with his letter, the sentences become short and slow. This shows Stanhope has run out of patience and is trying to show authority over Raleigh. He wants to sound threatening to make Raleigh do what he wants him to, which is to give up the letter. Stanhope speaks very quietly, which adds to the sinister aspect. This is where tension becomes incredibly high as we are very close to reading the letter, and we don't know Stanhopes reaction. At the top of page 48, I can see in the stage directions, lots of words like "stammering", "nervously", "astonished" and "trembling". This shows this scene is very tense. Stanhope resorts to orders, it his last resort and shows how desperate he is to stop any information about himself getting back home. He abuses his power as we know he would not do this normally. He also resorts to physical violence which will have looked very dramatic from an audience's point of view and very over-the-top. The tension drops as we realise Stanhope has got the letter off Raleigh and we are certain we are going to find out what he has written about Stanhope. However when we hear that Stanhope does not wish to read the letter, there is a sense of disappointment in the audience. As we are unsure whether or not we are going to find out what happens in the letter, there is tension throughout the rest of this scene, until Osborne has finished reading Raleigh's letter. ...read more.


However we hope Stanhope will show some emotion for his old friend and this is what we get to see. The tension increases as we see Stanhope trying to help Raleigh, even though we know he doesn't have much of a chance. These acts by Stanhope bring a small amount of hope upon the audience and keep the audience watching to see if Raleigh recovers. Also, the tension is high as we see a new and hidden side of Stanhope. Revealing his emotions about Raleigh and his kindness. In effect, this section of the play acts as a sort of conclusion and we can confirm Stanhopes true feelings over Raleigh and this keeps the audience paying attention. On page 93, Stanhope says: "It's just gone through a bit, Jimmy." The fact that Stanhope has called Raleigh by his proper name immediately causes the interest to rise in the audience. This is the most personal we have heard Stanhope become. From this point to the end of the play, the tension is constantly high as we know Raleighs life is about to end. However the sounds and lighting will keep the audience interested as there are lots to see and hear. The play ends in a rather unusual way, we expect Stanhope to become very emotional over Raleigh, but he doesn't. He keeps his military fashion and goes up to join in the fighting. The play finalises with the bunker being destroyed. Journeys end is a very enthralling play, and as I have shown there are lots of points where the tension becomes incredibly high. I think that the stage directions, sound and lighting help enormously, maybe even more so than what the characters actually say or do. The key to creating a lot of dramatic tension is for there lots of interesting things to be going on at once. It is being able to keep the stage busy, even without having the characters present all the time. I think Journeys end is a classic example of how a playwright can create a terrific amount of tension. ...read more.

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