Journey's End: An Analysis

The play Journey's End is defined in a dug-out in the United kingdom trenches over the last season of the First World Conflict. It includes the occasions and experience of the 'C' company, just before the start of the Ludendorff offensive - some German attacks along the Western Front. Compiled by R. C. Sherriff, it is based on his real-life experience as a soldier in World Battle One. Sherriff dished up as an officer in the East Surrey Regiment but was seriously wounded in the fight of Passchendale in 1917. In his play Journey's End he depicts the true realities of conflict, not the false 'glorious' image that many people thought it was. Throughout his play, Sherriff unveils the appalling trench conditions, the fear of fatality from the soldiers and the real horror of the issue. This essay will give attention to how Sheriff uses level directions and special results to get this done.

One of the ways in which Journey's End conveys the horrors of conflict is through the actions that Sherriff wishes characters to execute. The stage guidelines tell the stars in the play how to move and action on stage. In Take action 3, world 1, Stanhope is ready anxiously for the approaching raid: 'STANHOPE is by themselves, wandering back and forth over the dug-out. ' Through the stage directions Sherriff demonstrates Stanhope's matter for the imminent raid. When Stanhope strolls back again to the stand, the stage guidelines show how he is trying to foresee where the German attack will appear: 'glances down at the table' (Act 3, field 1). Sherriff would like the audience to feel Stanhope's apprehension and pressure about the forthcoming raid. In Function 3, picture 1 when Stanhope looks at his watch, Sherriff shows the audience how he desires the time to go quickly: 'He appears anxiously at his watch. ' This is common throughout Journey's End, such as the end of Work 1, when the audience recognizes Osborne wind up his pocket watch: 'he takes out from his tunic pocket a big, old-fashioned watch, and quietly winds it up. ' It reminds the audience that point is constantly moving by, and enough time for the German assault is approaching.

In Function 1, when Hardy is going out of the trenches and handing his position over to Osborne, the stage directions express Hardy as a 'a red-faced, cheerful-looking man'. Through his appearance, it is clear that Hardy is laid back and everyday, which explains to the audience that he is relieved to be giving the trenches which war will need to have been horrific. When Sherriff later would like Hardy to sing gladly to himself, it further shows his pain relief: 'HARDY goes up the slim steps in to the trench above, singing softly and gladly to himself. ' (Take action 1). Sherriff desires stage guidelines to emphasise the horrors of warfare and exactly how Hardy is happy that he has escaped the German assault. In Take action 1, through the level directions, Sherriff would like Raleigh to 'giggle nervously' and 'take a seat gingerly'. Sherriff wishes the audience to compare Raleigh's first stress and anxiety with Hibbert's concern with death from the German episode later on in the play.

One of the ways that Sherriff conveys the horrors of war is through the descriptions of the character types in the stage directions. In Take action 1, when Stanhope first appears on level, the audience knows how young the business commander is: 'he is no more than a boy; high, slimly built, but wide-ranging - shouldered. ' Stanhope seems to have an competitive demeanour, as he constantly shouts and loses his temper with the men. Sherriff desires the audience to understand that at such a time, Stanhope has huge responsibilities and his anger is an outcome from the strains of battle. Through the stage directions, Sherriff offers Stanhope characteristics such as, 'dark shadows under his eyes' to make him appear tired and war-weary (Act 1). Sherriff needs to make Stanhope more believable to the audience, and this can further be seen in the manner that his standard is described: 'old and war-stained'. (Act 1). These level directions help the director to mention Stanhope's experience of war, which makes the play more genuine. Sherriff wants showing the audience that military in the conflict were very young and inexperienced through Raleigh's explanation: 'He is a well- built, healthy- looking guy of about eighteen' (Action 1). In Take action 3, field 1, when the raid has ended, the stage guidelines explain the captured German as, 'a bareheaded GERMAN Guy, in field gray, sobering bitterly. ' The audience realise that the battle was equally distressing for the German soldiers. Sherriff desires the audience to sympathise with the youngster because, exactly like Raleigh, he's young and inexperienced.

Stanhope is reluctant that Raleigh will write and reveal Stanhope's drinking problems to his sister, to whom Stanhope is almost engaged. In Act 2, world 1, this dread leads Stanhope to censor Raleigh's letter. Sherriff desires the audience to understand that the War has already established a psychological effect on Stanhope, when he's seen 'trembling and breathing seriously' (Take action 2, world 1). Raleigh's presence has made Stanhope face his drinking alcohol problems. Stanhope challenges with the mental strains of warfare and, as a result, he lashes out at Raleigh: 'STANHOPE clutches RALEIGH's wrist and tears the notice from his hands. ' (Take action 2, world 1). With the stage guidelines, Sherriff brings about Stanhope's human emotions, and the audience understands the tragedy of battle. In Act 2, field 2 the stage directions evidently show that Hibbert is set to leave leading Line prior to the German harm, when he 'attacks blindly' at Stanhope to escape. Sherriff wants the audience to start to see the marvelous stress and fear endured by the men through the battle. Furthermore, when Hibbert sometimes appears, 'trembling' and 'crying without effort to restrain himself', Sherriff shows the audience that the warfare was distressing and Hibbert can't take the strains of battle anymore.

Camaraderie is a common theme throughout Journey's End and is seen when Osborne places Stanhope to foundation: 'He strongly requires Stanhope by the arm and pulls him to the bed. ' (Action 1). Sherriff would like the audience to see how the battle has made Osborne and Stanhope good friends. In Work 3, landscape 1, Sherriff further shows comradeship between your soldiers in the play, when Osborne gives his valuable items to Stanhope prior to the raid: 'he requires a notice and his watch from his pocket and places it up for grabs. Then he pulls off his engagement ring'. The audience realise that Osborne may not return but, more importantly, this implies Osborne's trust in Stanhope. When Osborne later meets his loss of life, the stage directions clearly communicate Stanhope's marvelous grief: 'Stanhope is looking dumbly at the stand - at Osborne's watch and wedding ring. ' (Act 3, landscape 1). Since the audience has observed the camaraderie between Stanhope and Osborne, they too feel the impact of Osborne's death, and empathise with Stanhope's grief. The tragedy of Osborne's fatality can further be observed with the actions that Sherriff would like Raleigh to execute: 'RALEIGH comes gradually down the steps, walking as though he were asleep; his hands are blood loss. '(Action 3, world 1). The stage guidelines in this field help the director to portray Stanhope's and Raleigh's grief more intensely.

In the start of Act 3, arena 2, the level directions show that Stanhope, Trotter and Hibbert have just acquired supper: 'The dug-out is lit quite festively by an unusual volume of candles. Two champagne bottles stand prominent on the table. ' Throughout this landscape Sherriff would like Stanhope to make several jokes showing the audience that he is trying to forget about the lack of Osborne: 'He has just made a remark which includes dispatched HIBBERT and TROTTER into uproarious laughter' (Action 3, picture 2). Throughout 'Journey's End' Sherriff wishes the audience to notice that the men have turned to alcoholic beverages, to distract them from the horrors of conflict: 'taking another whisky' (Action 1). In Act 3, world 2, the audience start to see the soldiers sipping 'champagne' and 'whisky' which ultimately shows the men are trying to just forget about Osborne's death. Inside the trenches in World Battle One, fresh hen and champagne were very special. If the men have emerged eating and sipping these luxuries, it shows the audience that the men want to enjoy one last food prior to the imminent German invasion, where they know their likelihood of survival are miniscule. In Take action 3, arena 2, Sherriff uses the chiaroscuro impact to compare light and darkness on level, like the painting 'The Supper at Emmaus', by the Italian artist Caravaggio. The light from the candles on level creates a shadow on the wall above the stars' mind which, to the audience, produces a halo effect. Sherriff provides impression that the supper is like the very last Supper, as the men appear to be eating and having their last food before the German attack.

In Act 3, picture 3, when Raleigh is fatally injured at the end of the play, Stanhope covers Raleigh with a 'blanket' and 'bathes the boy's face'. Sherriff demonstrates the comradeship of the men in World Battle One and shows the audience Stanhope's true thoughts for Raleigh. When Raleigh eventually matches his death Sherriff wishes Stanhope to stare, 'listlessly across at the guy on OSBORNE's foundation' (Work 3, field 3). This stage direction demonstrates the horrors of warfare have become too much for Stanhope. When Raleigh is placed on Osborne's foundation, it reminds the audience that Stanhope has lost two of his closest friends. In Work 3, picture 3, by the end of the play Stanhope, 'softly runs his fingertips over RALEIGH's tousled mane'. Sherriff creates an effect of pathos, whereby the audience can see the dreadful cost of warfare and the pointless waste materials of young lives.

The stage guidelines help the audience to understand the awful conditions that troops in the First World Warfare had to undergo. In the arena before Action 1 Sherriff, through the stage directions, demonstrates how primitive the trenches were: 'A wooden frame, protected with cable netting, stands contrary to the left wall and acts the double reason for a foundation and a seats for the desk. ' Sherriff means that the stage established looks authentic, therefore the audience can picture the appalling, low budget living conditions of the troops. Sherriff uses props on level like the boots that Hardy wears, showing how wet the trenches were: 'He wears much trench-boot on his still left knee. ' (Action 1). Sherriff uses light directions to distinction between the friendliness and relative security of the dug-out, when he uses candles, with the danger and uncertainty beyond the trenches. In Action 1, the glow from the 'yellow candles' suggests warmness and basic safety in the dug-out, whilst the 'misty grey parapet' shows how bleak it is outside in the trenches.

Sherriff uses light directions in the beginning scene of Take action 2, arena 1 to indicate the start of the day: 'A pale shaft of natural light shines down the steps'. Sherriff uses lighting for the morning hours and afternoon sun, to provide the play a sense of time. At the beginning of Act 2, world 2, the initial morning sunshine has vanished from the dug-out floor: 'The sunshine has gone from the dug-out floor, but shines brightly in the trench'. Sherriff makes the play seem more practical, by using lamps to share the audience what time of day it is. In Work 3, field 1, the level directions available, 'towards sunset'. Sherriff may have designed the stage directions to be symbolic of the finish of the day, but perhaps also to signify the end of the men's lives. When Raleigh and Osborne lead the raid on the German forward line, Sherriff wishes the audience to see, 'the red and green shine of German alarm rockets' (Work 3, picture 1). Since Osborne later matches his death through the raid, the red light may have been used to indicate blood or death and to show the audience something bad has occurred. In Take action 3, scene 1, the trench appears darker, which ultimately shows the audience that point is transferring by and the raid is approaching: 'a light that slowly and gradually fades with the sinking sunshine. ' Sheriff may have used the red light of the sinking sunlight to symbolise the blood vessels that will be shed by the men down the road in the play. Lots of the military in the stage directions look as private shadows on the level, this means the audience can't recognise which persona it is: 'A man comes from the servant's dug-out; for a moment his head and soldiers stick out black resistant to the glowing sky, then he passes on into the darkness by the stand' (Act 3, world 3). When the character enters the dug-out he's silhouetted against the red glow of 'the Very Lights' in the sky. In this manner, the soldier could symbolize the soldiers who passed away during the Warfare. Through the directions, Sherriff creates a dramatic atmosphere for the play.

When Raleigh and Osborne leave to attempt the raid, there exists complete silence on the level: 'there is silence in the trenches' (Action 3, scene 1). Sherriff wants the noises level to steadily intensify and the original silence on stage to be filled up with the 'shriek and crash' of slipping shells (Act 3, scene 1). Through these sound files, Sherriff makes the Raid appear more practical (life-like) and helps the audience to comprehend how strong and horrific the conflict was. In Action 3, landscape 1, noises such as the 'slim whistle and crash of dropping shells', further express the horrors of war and make the raid appear more believable. Throughout Journey's End sound effects are used, just like the raid, to emphasise the depth of war. Sherriff wants to show that the German strike is slowly getting nearer, by causing the guns sound more muffled and faraway previously in the play: 'Through the stillness comes the reduced rumble of faraway weapons' (Function 1). The sound files not only show that the German harm is constantly getting close to, but also works as a countdown to the finish of the men's lives. By the finish of Take action 3, scene 3, the sounds have intensified and the shells are dropping louder and more frequently: 'There comes the louder thud of three more shells'. These sound effects help the audience to comprehend what it was like to survive a German attack in World Conflict One. From the stage guidelines, Sherriff uses onomatopoeic noises such as the "crush" of shells and the "boom" of Minenwerfer, to help the director express the horrors of war more effectively (Act 3, field 3).

It therefore can be said that R. C. Sherriff has efficiently managed to show the horrors of war by using his stage guidelines in Journey's End. From the stage directions, Sherriff uses sound effects, light and props to mention the real realities of Warfare. Sherriff shows how the troops' living conditions were appalling and primitive, and he emphasises how horrific the turmoil was. The stage directions supply the play a sense of atmosphere and help the celebrities get into the mindset of these characters.

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