Journey's End: R.C Sherriff uses the characters in his play Journey's End to create tension and drama.

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 Journey's End

       R.C Sherriff uses the characters in his play Journey's End to create tension and drama. In the opening scene Sherriff uses Osborne, an elderly man who is second in command of the company that's coming on duty, and Hardy, the captain of the company that is coming off duty, to set the scene. Hardy starts to do this when pointing out features on a map of the front line, "Here we are, we hold two hundred yards of front line. We have a lewis gun here and one in this little sap here and sentry posts where the crosses are". Sherriff also uses Hardy and Osborne to give an insight into the character, Stanhope's, personality and to describe the living conditions in the front line. He first does this by using the stage directions at the beginning of the play ' CAPTAIN HARDY, a red-faced, cheerful looking man is sitting on a box by the table, instantly drying a sock over a candle-flame, this gives a first impression of the trenches and dugouts being cold and wet. Sherriff then takes this description further when Hardy says

"Excuse my sock, won't you... Guaranteed to keep the feet dry, trouble is it keeps getting wet doing it." The living conditions are then further described as poor. When Hardy offer Osborne a drink of whisky but warns him " Don't have too much water it's rather strong today", this gives the indication that the water is unsafe and has to be disinfected. Another indication that conditions were poor, was when Osborne was examining the beds and Hardy blurts out "Oh no that's mine. The one's in the other dugout have no bottoms. You keep yourself in by hanging your arms and legs over the sides. Mustn't hang your legs to low, or the rats gnaw on the boots". Hardy and Osborne provide an insight into Stanhope's personality.  They continually fight over Stanhope's condition and how it will affect his judgement in running the company, in other words Stanhope's drinking problem. "How is the dear old boy still drinking like a fish... It must be pretty rotten for you, being his second in command and you such a quiet old thing." Osborne then quickly jumps in and defends Stanhope " He's a long way the best company commander we've ever got." and eventually Hardy backs down "Oh, I know ; he's a splendid chap!"

From that you can determine that Hardy thinks Stanhope is a drunk and that he is a joke to the company, whereas Osborne tries to be loyal to Stanhope by protecting him from Hardy's verbal abuse.

       In scene two, the relationship between Osborne and Raleigh help us to understand more about Stanhope and why Osborne is so protective of him. They give us more infomation on what life in the trenches is like. When Raleigh first enters he acts like he is inexperienced because Osborne has to tell him "Sit down, won't you?" and "I should take your pack off." Osborne then starts to act as a fatherly figure by saying to Raleigh "My name's Osborne. I'm second in command of the company. You only call me 'sir' in front of the men... You'll find the other officers call me 'Uncle'." After then talking about just arriving in the trenches Osborne mentions Stanhope "Captain Stanhope is in charge of this company." and to Osborne's suprise Raleigh says "I know. It's a frightful bit of luck." Osborne and Raleigh then go into deeper depth on how Raleigh knows Stanhope, "We were at school together - at least - of course -  I was only a kid and Stanhope was one of the big fellows;..." and what Stanhope was like when he was and wasn't there, "He was skipper of Rugger at Bartford and kept wicket for the eleven. A jolly good bat, too...You see it wasn't only that we were at school together;  our fathers were friends, and Dennis used to come and stay with us in the holidays." This eventually started to lead to why Osborne was protecting Stanhope - Raleigh's sister, "You see Dennis used to stay with us, and naturally my sister -well-perhaps I ought not...They're not - er - officially engaged--- but " Stanhope's drinking problem also plays a part in it, although Sherriff doesn't say anything else on it until later on. So after hearing this Osborne must feel that he must, if he can, protect both Raleigh and Stanhope from each other. "You know, Raleigh, you mustn't expect to find him - quite the same... You may find he's a little quick tempered...You must remember that he's commanded this company for a long time - through all sorts of rotten times. It's - it's a big strain on a man...If you notice a - difference in Stanhope - you'll know it's the strain."

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After they finish talking about Stanhope, they go on to do a bit of scene setting.

Raleigh wanted to find out if the dugout they were in was in the front line so he asked Osborne "Are we in the front line here?" Osborne then replied "No. That's the support line outside, the front line is fifty yards further on." This goes on for quite a while Raleigh asks questions and Osborne answers them. Some of the things that were said were quite important in creating the atmosphere, such as where Raleigh says " How frightfully quiet it is!... I ...

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