Journey's End by R.C. Sheriff
R. C. Sherriff created characters that aid the audience's
understanding of war through their emotions and dialogue. Each
character generates an intensive atmosphere and prompts differing
emotions and thoughts from the audience, expressing different feelings
and reactions towards war, which all aggregate to the same thing, the
fear that they are all going to die sooner than later.
The play was written to make people contemplate the futility of war.
World war one was a war which lead hundreds of thousands of soldiers
to their death. A road where millions met their death, World War One
truly was a 'Journey's End'.
The play shows how an economically and socially secure era was coming
to an end.
Sherriff's characters make the best of the situation in which they
have found themselves. Each action is displayed in accordance to
their character, but they all soon realize that there is nothing
noble about war. Raleigh discovers this by joining the army straight
after finishing school and sees his hero torn apart, lost, and
drinking. Soldiers never found the excitement and adventure that war
was supposed to provide them. Instead, their dreams fell apart until
there was no hope left.
The language is consistently colloquial making it easier for the
audience to understand. The shifts in tone express the emotions that
the characters are feeling. The dramatisation is demonstrated in the
play, through the dialogue, to illustrate the negativity of war. The
characters use negative words such as "FIND NEG. WORDS" displaying the
feelings towards this type of warfare, pointless and negative. The
language used makes the audience pity the characters and forget the
... middle of paper ...
... the trenches.
RC Sherriff chose an emotional way of dramatising the pointless waste
of life. ‘Journey’s End’ finishes on the dramatic note, of Raleigh
entombed in the pitch dark dug-out. He is shown as one more victim of
the viciousness and insanity of war. This image effectively
dramatises the pointless waste of life.
The way in which Sherriff has dramatised the true horrors and the
harsh conditions of the world war undoubtedly impressed audiences in
the after math of war. Audiences today still find the play a moving
realisation of the conditions of World War one. ‘Journey’s End’ was
probably one of the first plays to display the true horrors of war.
It shows the truth of a war that should never be glorified, and how
the soldiers knew that nobody really did win the war.
Sherriff, R. C. Journey's End. New York: Brentano's, 1929.
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