Stanhope Raleigh Essay

Topics: Tragedy

Before the war, Raleigh and Stanhope had a strong relationship. Their families were friends, and Stanhope found a love interest in Raleigh’s sister. We learn that they were good friends when early on in the play Raleigh says to Osborne: ‘Our fathers were friends and Dennis used to come and stay with us in the holidays. Of course, at school I didn’t see much of him, but in the holidays we were terrific pals.’

The last time Raleigh saw Stanhope before the war was when Stanhope won a Military – Cross, awarded to him for bravery.

Stanhope was giving a talk to his old school, the same school that Raleigh attended. It was after this talk when Raleigh decided to enrol for the war. He pulled strings to get himself into the same company as Stanhope. Raleigh was able to do this because he had an uncle, who was the person in charge of sending different people to different companies.

This is why he appears to be so excited about the war, because he is reunited with his close friend and role model Stanhope. He expresses his enthusiasm towards Stanhope when he says: ‘I’m awfully glad I got to your company, Stanhope.’

Stanhope Raleigh

Stanhope on the other hand is not as enthusiastic towards the war. He has spent three years fighting, and seen many of his men die. He finds that the only way to cope is by drinking whisky. He is not the only other person who has been affected by the war; Sherriff puts this point across by showing what the war has done to the other officers.

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Osborne blocks out the horrors of the war by reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’, a children’s story which just keeps him occupied instead of letting him think about the war. He also engages in meaningless conversations before going to raid. We know this because before he and Raleigh make a dangerous raid he starts talking about pigs, which bear absolute no relevance to the war. At this point Raleigh is still enthusiastic, he just keeps on talking about the war.

A group of officers drink champagne after Osborne has died, not out of celebration but to forget about what has just happened to their friend. They drink champagne because it is well known that champagne works quickly on the body. Stanhope drinks yet more alcohol at this point because he starts drinking whisky straight after the champagne.

Stanhope is not a bad officer with drinking problems, and the reader knows this. The reader learns that despite his dependence on alcohol, Stanhope is a good officer for in reply to Hardy’s observation “Poor old man. It must be pretty rotten for you, being his second in command, and you such a quiet, sober old thing.” Osborne replies, “He’s a long way the best company commander we’ve got.”

Throughout the play, Stanhope’s qualities as a good leader begin to show more and more. We realise that he will not send men to do something that he himself would not do. We also realise that he will not tolerate cowards within his company, as he manages to keep Hibbert in the company, instead of letting him walk away from the war leaving his fellow men to die. At this point he in convincing Hibbert to stay, by telling him: “Better die of pain than to be shot for deserting”.

Despite being a good officer, he is a changed man to what he was before the war began. His father is the vicar of the small town in which he lived. He was known before for how he would not tolerate people drinking alcohol, this is shown when Raleigh talks about how Stanhope to Osborne early on in the play: “I remember once at school he caught some chaps in a study with a bottle of whisky… He gave them a dozen each with a cricket stump.” Now however he himself is a heavy drinker, and this information can get back to his hometown via letters from Raleigh. Therefore Stanhope is scared of being exposed and bringing shame to his family and to the woman he loves (Raleigh’s sister). Here he expresses his fear to Osborne, about what Raleigh may do: “You know he’ll write and tell her that I reek of whisky all day”.

This fear of exposure is what is making Stanhope negative towards Raleigh’s presence. He knows he has a problem and that he will never be accepted back into his town if he is exposed, because the people there will not understand his problems, and that is why he has the sympathy of the audience. He admits his weakness to Osborne by saying: “There were only two ways of breaking the strain. One was pretending I was ill – and going home; the other was this. (He holds up his glass)”. Stanhope is so scared of what may be said about him, he actually attempts to censor Raleigh’s letters home, this only makes the audience more sympathetic because they can see how much he wants to remain a hero in his town, and to his love interest.

Raleigh also has the sympathy of the audience, because he has joined the war and in particular this company thinking that it will be an adventure. Instead the reason that persuaded him to come, Stanhope, rejects Raleigh leaving him feeling sad and lonely. The audience can also relate to Raleigh because like him, they have no idea about the ugly things that occur during war. They realise he is vulnerable to all of these things, especially after Osborne dies. Osborne was the one person who Raleigh bonded with, he was fond of Raleigh from the first time they met, he comments, “He’s a good-looking youngster. I like him.”

Stanhope’s fear erects a barrier between himself and Raleigh. He does this by constantly rejecting Raleigh, an example is when Stanhope shouts at Raleigh, here he continues building the barrier by telling Raleigh not to refer to him as ‘Dennis’ and by showing him who is boss: “Don’t Dennis me! Stanhope’s my name! You’re not at school! Go and inspect your rifles!”

The barrier is made poignant because the audience and Stanhope know that everyone is going to die in the forth-coming raid. The audience learns this when Stanhope orders his men to wire both sides of the trench, allowing no escape – an indication that they are going to fight until the last man. The audience may have also realised this because the title of the play is ‘Journey’s End’ – showing that the journey of these men will come to an end. It is poignant because the audience know that Raleigh and Stanhope are best friends who will die together and who will not be able to cherish their last few days together because Stanhope is not allowing himself to get too close to Raleigh. The poignancy is increased as Raleigh remains excited at the fact that he has come to spend the rest of the war with Stanhope, little does he know that they will only have three days with each other, and those days will not be as memorable or as well spent as he could hope. It can be seen that Stanhope is actually trying to protect Raleigh but because he is unable he does not get too close to him.

This barrier is broken down at the very end of the play, when Raleigh is hit during the attack by the Germans. It is Stanhope who breaks down all of the barriers, the same barriers that Raleigh has been seen trying to remove. They start using each other’s first names again because it has finally become apparent to Stanhope that Raleigh is dying, and cannot send home any information. Therefore Stanhope is willing to be friends with Raleigh, as he wants them to leave each other on good terms. This is from when Stanhope breaks down the barriers that he initially set: “It’s quite all right Jimmy”.

Therefore I can conclude that almost all of the emotion in the play comes from the relationship between Raleigh and Stanhope. The deaths of the other officers seem irrelevant when the play is finished, because of the tragedy, which is Raleigh’s death. Raleigh’s death is more tragic than most because he came to have a good time but he was miss-treated until the very end when all was made up, and he was also very young with many ambitions and didn’t realise what he was letting himself in for by joining the war. The emotion also comes from the barrier set up by Stanhope because the audience can sense a tragic ending but do not want it to take place.

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Stanhope Raleigh Essay. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Stanhope Raleigh Essay
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