The Long and the Short and the Tall

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Discuss The Changes In The Character Bamforth

In the Malayan jungle in 1942 a british patrol is cut off from its base camp by the advancing Japanese. This play explores
what happpens when ordinary men have to confront the reality of war: can they kill another human being? It offers no easy answers but reveals the reactions of a group of ordinary soldiers under pressure.

The character of Bamforth in the play 'The Long, The Short and The 1!tall, by Willis Hall is a complex one. It seems to undergo a series of changes as the story continues, especially when the patrol come across the Japanese prisoner.

At the start of the play, Bamforth obviously dislikes the Japanese. When the patrol first captures the Japanese prisoner, Bamforth is the only one (apart from Mitchem and Johnstone) who is willing to kill the prisoner. Bamforth says

BAMFORTH: "It's only the same as carving up a pig."

He would be ready, standing up Bayonet in hand, feeling for the right spot to enter the bayonet into the prisoners body.

This quote shows that when he first meets the Japanese soldier he thinks of him as an animal and nothing more.During this time the audience thinks Bamforth is heartless and doesn't like him.

Then after awhile Bamfoth is set on duty to watch over the prisoner and during this time Bamforth is kept busy by 'teaching' the prisoner.

BAMFORTH: Put your hands up on your head (THE PRISONER looks at BAMFORTH in belwilderment) I said, get your hands upon your head! Like this! See! Flingers on blonce! All light? (BAMFORTH demonstartes and THE PRISONER complies)

This echoes that Bamforth has been kept busy by the prisoner, it also indicates a change between Bamforth and the prisoner. First Bamforth was going to kill him no problem and now,he's teaching th prisoner how to 'talk'. From this point Bamforth starts to regain his lost respect from the readers.

But Bamforth gains almost total respect towards the end of the play when he...
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