Stanhope from Journey's End
Stanhope provides the most obvious candidate for the accolade of “hero”
in Journey’s End:
R.C.Sherriff has included many themes in Journey’s End; a play
portraying the reality of trench warfare. Some of these include
Comradeship, The horrors of war, Heroism and Relationships. My essay
will be focusing mainly on the theme of heroism.
The audience relate the word “hero” with mainly one character in the
play. But the word hero has many positive connotations. A hero could
be a person who “saves the day” or is a hero in somebody else’s eyes
or maybe even his personality and how he interacts with other
characters could also give him the status of being a hero. There are
many aspects of Stanhope which rightfully award him the status of
being a hero.
The audience is first introduced to the possibility of Stanhope being
a hero when we first meet Raleigh. A keen and un-experienced officer,
Raleigh forces himself into Stanhope’s battalion. ...view middle of the document...
Even after this
argument audience don’t really see a change in Raleigh’s opinion about
Stanhope being his hero. R.C Sherriff also cleverly manipulates the
character. We are confused about the relationship between Raleigh and
Stanhope, until the end of the play. The audience are made to think
that Stanhope doesn’t really care about Raleigh, but right at the end
of the play there is a twist. Stanhope’s true feelings are shown
towards Raleigh, when he is dying, and the audience are made aware of
the fact that Raleigh was correct in thinking of Stanhope as his hero!
Also the name “Stanhope” could be symbolic of the fact that Stanhope
is the hero, since he gives “hope” to his company and to all the men.
The soldiers are influenced by him and the audience come to see
Stanhope as a very fine and hard working commander of the company.
Not only does Raleigh think of Stanhope as a hero but some of his men
might also see Stanhope as a hero in their eyes.
Stanhope is also correctly named the hero since he interacts with
every character in the play in a different and unusual way. Stanhope
has the power of influencing characters and this is one of his many
personalities which make him the hero. One memorable part is when
Stanhope uses reverse psychology on Hibbert. Hibbert tries his best
to do anything to get out of the front line and avoid the big attack.
Stanhope carefully uses Reverse psychology on him to persuade Hibbert
to stay. “I know what you feel, Hibbert. I’ve known all along –”,
Stanhope portrays to Hibbert that he can empathise with him and
cleverly persuades Hibbert. These are the kind of things that earn
Stanhope respect and the status of being a hero.
Also throughout the whole play general things that Stanhope does and
what we learn about him from other characters also show us that he is
the hero. Stanhope is determined and knows his company very well. He
works very hard, but the concept of alcohol that has been incorporated
into his life in the war, manipulate the reader and sometimes do
confuse that audience, if Stanhope is a good character or bad one.
Overall Stanhope’s good side is stronger. Many of his bad actions can
be justified by his drinking habit. In my opinion Stanhope deserves
the title of being a Hero.