For this piece of work I am trying to show some of the emotions men go through when faced with the horrers of war; this is often shown in the forms of guilt and remorse. I am looking to analyze the relationship between Raleigh and Stanhope and how their comradeship is damaged by the pressures and struggles of war. This will be shown in the way the two scenes present the issues and then in the way that they contrast. The first of the two scenes I have chosen to use for this piece of work is the scene midway throughout the second act when Stanhope, riddled with alcohol, struggles to control his anger when Raleigh attempts to send off a letter.
The second scene, I have chosen is the end scene, which shows Raleigh, after being wounded, with Stanhope at his side. These two scenes show the extreme pressures men are put under in the course of war. Stanhoppe drinks in order to just manage his day to day existence. Raleighs presence reminds him of the life he once had, his guilt at his drinking and his fear that Raleigh will lose respect for him, not to mention his fear of Raleigh reporting home to his sister about the terrible state that he is in. Raleigh on the other hand is young and naive ; he does not fully understand standhopes behavior and is somewhat oblivious to his surroundings. In the first scene I have chosen, Raleigh enters with his letter, Stanhope, in an aggressive tone, tells Raleigh to leave the letter open, Raleigh attempts to explain that there is nothing of any significance in the letter but Stanhope proceeds to raise his voice and rip the letter from the trembling Raleigh’s hand.
The aggressive tone Stanhope sues when he tells Raleigh to leave the letter open shows his fear has been corrupted to anger towards his previous best friend, Raleigh. Don’t ‘Dennis’ me! Stanhope’s my name! You’re not at school. Go and inspect your rifles’ This scene shows what the war has done to Stanhope as a person. He feels that Raleigh has a duty to his sister to inform her of the type of person he has become and of his degraded personality. He feels this because he is so horrified as to what he has become, this is shown when he says, ‘oh God, I cant read the blasted thing! ‘ which shows us that he fears the contents. These aspects show his psychological deterioration as a result of the war.
Raleigh is shocked and possibly doesn’t understand why Stanhope has changed so much because of the war, this is once more illustrated in the scenes proceeding Osborne’s death. The scene then continues to read out Raleigh’s letter and to find that the content is the complete opposite to what Stanhope expected. It is portrayed that Stanhope then feels humiliated for what he has done to Raleigh and his mistrust of him. This is shown when, ‘Stanhope sits with a lowered head, he murmurs something that sounds like ‘yes please”
The final scene is in complete contrast to the first scene I have chosen. In this scene, after taking a shell to the back, Raleigh is dying and Stanhope stays with him to the end. This scene is contrasting to the first as it shows the guilt and remorse that Stanhope feels as he realizes how cruel he has been to Raleigh; whereas the first scene does not show any remorse. This is shown by little things like them referring to each other on a first name basis for the first time in the play.
The tone of Stanhope’s voice turns solemn rather than the aggression we saw in the first scene I chose: once again showing to us that Stanhope is feeling guilty and want to make Raleigh’s last moments happy; rather than the aggression portrayed to us in the first scene, ‘Its all right, old chap; its just the shock–numbed them. ‘ Here Stanhope is covering up the seriousness of Raleigh’s injury. There is none of the earlier tension in Stanhope’s words or voice.
Instead his comments are aimed at keeping Raleigh calm and offering comfort. ‘(Rising) sure! I’ll bring a candle and get another blanket’. It is in what is not said that we can see the men are now, finally, at ease with each other. The broken lines of Raleigh’s words reveal his pain and confusion, ‘But I-I cant go home just for-for a knock’. The stage directions encourage the sense of sadness and stillness in the dugout in spite of the war raging outside, ‘ Again there was silence in the dugout. Avery faint light is beginning… ‘