In what ways does R.C Sherrif recreate the tremendous stress and fear suffered by the men at the front in Journey's End?
In what ways does R.C Sherrif recreate the tremendous stress and fear suffered by the men at the front?
In the play “journeys end” R.C Sherrif recreates the tremendous stress and fear suffered by the men at the front line in the First World War. The essay will focus on two characters, which show stress and fear. The charters, which the essay will focus on, are Stanhope, who is the captain and hibbert who is an officer.
Some background facts about the war are that it started in 1914 and many countries were evolved like Germany and England. This war was different to other wars previously fought because they used more modern weapons such as gas bombs and machine guns. It total 9 million people died.
R.C Sherrif recreates the war in the play journeys end by making the audience feel if they actually in the war. The play is set in the officers dug out (a dug out is a hole in the ground with a roof over it) which all the action takes place. R.C Sherrif was an officer in the First World War so he had first hand experience of the war and what the officers would have had happen to them. In order to make the audience feel as if they are in the war R.C Sherrif adds notes in the stage directions like “the red and green glow of German alarm rockets comes faintly through the dugout door” in this example the stage which the play would be performed on would have been pitch dark and red and green flashing lights would have lit the stage up. This would have made the audience feel as if they were on the stage and in the war. As well as the bangs and flashes the audience would have felt involved with the characters because of personal things they are saying like when they have an argument.
This is a preview of the whole essay
The dug out in which all the scenes of the play are set is very small and only has a table in it. The conditions in the trenches would have been quite uncomfortable this can be seen from certain things some of the characters do “ Captain hardy a red-faced cheerful looking man is sitting on box by the table, intently drying a sock over a candle flame”. In this example it shows that he would have got his feet wet in the trenches and there is nothing to sit on except a box. Everything would have been improvised. The food for the officers probably would have been of reasonable quality. There ids expedience of this because trotter (who is one of the officers) has put weight on during the war. There are some comments of the tea tasting of onions, which would have meant that there wouldn’t have been much washing up “pity mason doesn’t clean his pots better” which was said by trotter after he had had the onion tasting tea. From these examples it can be told that life in the trenches would have been better for the officers than the ordinary solders.
The main person who I think shows the most stress in the play is the captain Stanhope. He is the most stressful person because when he was a school according to Raleigh he din not smoke or drink. In actual fact he hated people who drank and smoked. “I remember once at school he caught some chaps in a study with a bottle of whiskey, lord! He nearly blew the roof off.” Raleigh said that when he first arrived. This shows just how much he hated drinking and smoking. Now he drinks and smokes because he is the captain of a battalion so he is under tremendous pressure. There is evidence in the play that shows he drinks excessively “He came to supper with us and drank a whole bottle of whiskey in one hour and 15 minuets” This is where they were making a spectacle of him by timing him to drink a bottle of whiskey. All this shows he is trying to cope with stress. The war has completely changed him a person he is muck worse off for being in the war.
One of the main people who shows fear is hibbert. Hibbert is one of the officers and he is very muck afraid of getting wounded or killed. He does not war to fight because he has been out there three months and he feels as if he had done his bit. So he is pretending to be ill so he can go home “ This neuralgia of mine I am awfully sorry. I am afraid I can’t stick it any longer”. In this particular example hibbert is trying to persuade Stanhope to let him past so he can get to the doctor and he can go home. During this confrontation between hibbert and Stanhope, Stanhope threatens to shoot hibbert and say it was an accident. Towards the end of the play hibbert seems to get his confidence back and stares talking to the other offices about then he had girlfriends “she’s all right isn’t she”. This is where he had a picture of one of his girlfriends and he is showing Stanhope and trotter. However Hilbert’s episode of confidence with the otter officers is short lived when Stanhope bursts out and tells him to leave “get out of here, for god’s sake!” At the end of the play hibbert is persuaded to go up onto the battlefield by Stanhope who is being unusually nice to him “all right, mason Mr Hilbert’s coming up with you.” This is when Stanhope is not making him go alone so he sends mason up with him.
R.C Sherrif recreates the stress and fear of the men by having characters that show this stress and fear in what they say. He makes the audience feel as if they are in the war so it is more realistic. By introducing conflicting characters R.C Sherrif recreates the differences in people who would have fought in the First World War.