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What are the audiences changing view of all the characters throughout the play “The Long,The Short and The Tall”.

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What Are The Audiences Changing View of All The Characters Throughout The Play "The Long, The Short and The Tall" By Chantelle Wright 10 B Throughout the play the audience encounters many changes in all characters. The characters radical changes are due to many reasons including the pressure of the war, conflicts within the patrol and due to the later captured Japanese solider. As the characters themselves change, the feelings from the audience change as they learn more about them and even feel closer to them. From the second page, it becomes obvious that Private Bamforth is the leading role in the play. From the moment he enters the hut he takes centre stage and lies down, making himself comfortable. This shows that he has a casual and nonchalant manner, but he could also be doing it to annoy Corporal Johnstone, who has an obvious grudge against him; as soon as Johnstone sees Bamforth lying down, he, immediately makes a cutting remark; 'You think you're on your holidays?' Bamforth then illustrates the fact that he has apparently no respect for Johnstone, even though he is his superior. He makes a cheeky comment; 'You going to inspect us corp.?' and then 'Nit!' when Johnstone's back is turned to him. This almost escalates into a fight, which Sergeant Mitchem has to stop. This collision between the two characters shows that Bamforth knows the rules and regulations of the army very well, and that he is always ready to use them to his advantage. As both men stopped abruptly when Mitchem does this, they must both respect him a great deal; Bamforth behaves in a rebellious and insubordinate way towards everyone else. There are several other incidents that show that Bamforth has a dislike of authority in general, especially Lance Corporal Macleish. Whenever Macleish tries to assert his authority, Bamforth immediately takes the opportunity to provoke him; 'Silence in court! ...read more.


Slowly, the realisation that the prisoner is to be killed dawns on him. The fact that he does not catch the hints by Mitchem that the prisoner is to be killed shows his naivety and innocence. He sees it as murder, and becomes very upset; 'It's bloody murder, man!' He is horrified when he finds out that he will be bayoneted; 'Oh god...not that.' He does not want to believe what Mitchem is saying about him - that he is very similar to Bamforth in the way that he knows the army rules off by heart and applies them where he sees fit, and that he is scared of the responsibility that he has been given - even if it is the truth; 'You're talking through your hat.' Throughout most of the play Macleish tries to treat the prisoner as a human. However, as soon as he thinks that the prisoner has been stealing cigarettes from British soldiers he is just as ready to beat him as the rest of the patrol; 'I'll kill him.' This sudden change of heart is likely to be because he realises that his brother could have been one of the soldiers the prisoner has looted from; 'My brother's only 19...for all I know he's dead!' This shows that he is quite hypocritical; he preaches to others about rules and regulations, but when it suits him, he completely ignores. When he finds out that Bamforth gave the prisoner the cigarettes he becomes wildly defensive and apologetic towards the prisoner; 'How was I to know? I...I've told you boy, I thought he'd knocked them off them off.' However, as soon as he thinks that the prisoner has, after all been looting, he throws away his principles again, and is quite ready to beat up the prisoner again. Finally, he gives in to Bamforth's argument and his temper subsides; 'Och, what's it matter anyway...' ...read more.


numbers, they cannot survive as well as the prisoner, he is prepared to kill the man in order to improve his own men's chances; 'We've got no choice.' After this, however, Mitchem makes his first visible mistake. He tells Whitaker to try the radio again, even though he knows that it could reveal the patrol's position. This seriously jeopardises the patrol's safety, and decreases their chances of survival significantly. The next incident where the pressure obviously is getting to Mitchem is right at the end of the play, where the stress is at its most intense. He finally loses his temper when Bamforth refuses to get out of the way of the prisoner, and then the prisoner is shot. After a line of abuse from Bamforth, Mitchem strikes him down; 'We've had enough from you.' Mitchem is an extremely strong, competent leader and soldier. He stays unemotional and calculating throughout most of the play. He makes rational, fast decisions under massive pressure. He is also very cynical about nearly everything. However, when the pressure does increase, he becomes short tempered and sarcastic, but still makes equally quick decisions. Next to Bamforth, he is the strongest character in the play. In the Long and the Short and the Tall, there seems to be a general rule, to which all of the characters follow when put under pressure. This changes the characters view on life and even on the war. The weaker characters, such as Macleish, Evans, Smith, and, most obviously, Whitaker, become more and more scared as the pressure mounts. The stronger characters - Johnstone, Mitchem, and most of all, Bamforth, simply become stronger under the pressure, though this strength manifests itself in different ways. The angriest of the characters, Johnstone, is the only one out of all of them to survive. This seems to give out the message the people who survive wars are people like Johnstone - the most violent, not like Bamforth, the bravest, or like Mitchem, the most intelligent and experienced. ...read more.

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