‘Journey’s End’ is a play written by R.C Sherriff, which looks at the noble and ignoble points about being at war and looks in detail, at the qualities and personalities of five officers in the British Army during World War I. I am going to decide which of these officers I believe would be the best leader of the platoon.
‘Journey’s End’ is made up of a series of scenes in three acts. There is one scene in the first act, two scenes in the second act, and finally three scenes in the third act. The five characters: Hibbert; Trotter; Osborne; Raleigh; and Stanhope, are in a trench on the front line, opposite a German trench. The Germans are expected to attack soon. However, the British soldiers are planning a raid in order to get information from a German soldier. Later on in Act three, Scene three, they attack the Germans, and come across their Journey’s End.
Hibbert would almost certainly be the worst choice to lead the platoon. His appearance and personality make the audience believe that he is a weakling and a coward. He is in constant fear of death and is always doing what he can to prevent himself from being forced up to fight by Stanhope. An example of him being a coward and trying to run away is when he says:
“It’s this beastly neuralgia.”
We do not know whether he actually has neuralgia or not, but one thing’s for sure, he is trying to run away from the fight.
... weaker, vulnerable side to Stanhope, shown in the final scene of the act, when there is a dominant focus on the intimacy ... need. Furthermore, the constant emphasis of the weaponry and expected German attack increases tension and foreshadows the action yet to come ... of guns’ gently reminding you one last time that the Germans are approaching. There are more light hearted, humorous tones included ...
Trotter, in my opinion, would make a very good commanding officer. As proven throughout the drama, he is brave, enthusiastic, and has lead the men well in the past as Stanhope has given him a share of jobs. Although he has all the qualities required to lead a platoon, the fact that he has a well developed cockney sense of humour gives me the impression that he might not take the war as seriously as it should be.
Stanhope is the commanding officer and has been at the front line for 3 years. He has practically stared death in the face. He is popular with the other soldiers and expects only the best out of them. He hates having to send the men out, presumably to their death, but as commanding officer, he has no choice. He has many fears but doesn’t show them. However, on one occasion he admits them to Hibbert in an effort to help him face up to the war and not desert.
“Give me that letter!”
This is when Stanhope forces Raleigh to hand over his letter to his family to inspect what is says. This is an example of Stanhope making sure that his family and his girlfriend don’t find out that he has become a heavy drinker, and is ashamed of this.
Raleigh, I feel, is quite difficult to decide whether he would be a good commander or not. The reason I feel this way is because near the end of the play, his personality and attitude towards the war change completely, and he becomes a new man. During almost all of the play he a young soldier who is keen, honest and loyal.
“I say – it’s most frightfully exciting.”
This shows how Raleigh is naïve and inexperienced as he has never actually been in a battle before, unlike the others. Although he is still very positive about the war and believes that he and all the other men will live to fight another day. However, later on at the very end of the play, he is shot. While he is lying on the bed in severe pain his attitude towards the war changes completely, and he realises that it’s not frightfully exciting, but still shows his selfless bravery right before he finally dies.
Osborne is my personal choice for who would be the most suitable leader. He would make an excellent leader because he has all the qualities needed in a soldier to lead a battle to victory and to comfort the soldiers and help them with problems or concerns they may have. He is very loyal, brave, and willing to die for his friends and his country.
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“He’s a long way the best company commander we’ve got.”
This shows that he thinks a lot about others and not just himself.
“I say, don’t think I’m being morbid, or anything like that, but would you mind taking these?”
This proves that he understands how brutal war is, and the chances are that he is not coming back, and indeed, he doesn’t.