Does the Way Sherriff Presents Stanhope Encourage You to Feel Differently About Him at Different Parts in the Play?

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‘Does the way Sherriff presents Stanhope encourage you to feel differently about him at different parts in the play?’
The character of Stanhope is introduced by the other characters in the play before he makes his entrance. Hardy is the Captain of another company that is about to leave the front line, and Osborne is Stanhope’s second in command. They both discuss Stanhope’s personality. Stanhope is introduced by these two characters before he comes into the play. This dramatic device is used by R.C Sheriff, is to build up the suspense before his entrance. It makes the audience want to see what Stanhope is actually like.

Captain Dennis Stanhope is one of the most important characters in the play. R.C Sheriff uses him to show the struggles and strains of life in the front line. He presents him as a brave character, a character to be admired, however, not all the time. In the play we learn very little of Dennis Stanhope's character as a man, but much more of his character as a soldier. One reason for this is that he is the commander of ‘Infantry Company C’, thus has to appear strong, composed and above all, in charge–all the time. He feels that he must be very dedicated to his work and present a stern but fair front to the rest of the men. It is important for him to do this as he has only been a commander for a year and is relatively young, as he is just 21 years old. Another reason why we see very little of his character as just a man, is that he has been fighting in the war for a long time ‘Nearly three years. He came out straight from school– when he was eighteen’. This has hardened him and he is much more used to the war as an everyday reality, and because of this he has found ways to cope with the stress and horror of war.

He uses drink to forget about his life at home and the atrocious war surrounding him. He relies on drink, a lot. He drinks almost all the six bottles of whisky they brought with them in just three days, ‘The last bottle! Why, damn...
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