20th Century Drama - The name of this play is Journey's End, written
by R. C. Sherriff.
The name of this play is Journey's End, written by R. C. Sherriff. The
play was first preformed on a Sunday night in December 1928. By 1929
it was being shown at the Savoy Theatre where it ran for two years.
Later I will be studying the characters of Stanhope and Osborne, and
how they link in with the title "Journey's End", and I will also
examine the idea of journeys. I will also study the impact the play
had, why it was so successful and journeys of the minor characters,
Hibbert, Raleigh and Trotter.
The subtext of the play is about journeys, mental, physical and
emotional. Each character in the play goes through their own journey,
but each face it in a different way.
The Impact of the Play
At first, no theatre managers wanted to show Journey's End as they
thought it wouldn't be interesting to the public and no-one would want
to see a play without women in or want to be reminded about the war
ten years after it had ended. But they were wrong, and the play was a
success. Before Journey's End was written, most plays were about love
affairs between upper-class people and were mostly for entertainment
purposes, whereas Journey's End is about something real, something
dramatic, without being over played. Journey's End was different, and
therefore theatre managers didn't want to risk showing it, in case it
was a failure. Many people thought R.C.Sherrif had written the play
for political purposes, or to mock the government e.g. the way the
raid was handled by the commanding officers. But it was written to
give a tangible account of what the war was like, not from the
ordinary soldiers point of view, but from the officers' point of view.
The Minor Journeys
Hibbert's journey is a rather dramatic one. It starts at the beginning
of the play, with him complaining of neuralgia. Stanhope doesn't
believe that Hibbert really has neuralgia, but thinks he is using it
as an excuse to get out of the front line. Later, Hibbert tries to
leave, to go see the doctor so he can go home, but Stanhope confronts
Hibbert who still tries to leave. Stanhope threatens to shoot Hibbert,
who stands there and shows courage by telling Stanhope to shoot him.
This is a turning point in Hibbert's journey. Stanhope has realized
that Hibbert may not actually have neuralgia, but may just be
terrified of what may happen in the war. Stanhope tells Hibbert that
he is terrified of what may happen, and in that moment, Hibbert
decides to stay, and to fight on. That is the major event in Hibbert's
journey. Hibbert's journey went from being scared to showing courage
and bravery by staying. His journey ends in the big German attack at
the end of the play.
Trotter's journey is simpler, and mostly revolves around food, and
where his next meal is coming from. Back home trotter is a keen
gardener, and has grown a prize...