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Essay about Stanhope in Journey's End by RC Sheriff

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Stanhope in Journey's End

How does Sherriff develop our understanding of Stanhope in Act One?

Introduction

Stanhope is considered by the men to be ‘the best company commander
[they’ve] got.’ However under the pressure of the Great War, Stanhope
has changed into a different man, and has turned to drinking alcohol
to take away the fear and pain of War. At the beginning of the play,
Sherriff chooses not to introduce the audience to Stanhope. Instead,
the audience builds their own picture of Stanhope through the
differing views of the men in his company. Hardy’s strong description
of Stanhope, forces the viewer to build a picture of ‘a freak show
exhibit.’ However, this view is opposed by Osborne, who argues that
‘[Stanhope’s] experience alone make him worth a dozen men.’ It is
obvious to the audience that Osborne holds Stanhope in high regard.
These differing views make the audience believe that Stanhope is an
immature man, who is always drunk, although this is proved to be far
from the truth when the viewer meets Stanhope. He is revealed as an
admirable leader of...


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