PLEASE HELP!! What grade would this English Literature Essay be? Watch
In the play, Journeys End by R.C Sheriff there are multiple characters who show the personalities of soldiers during the time of the war and how they contrast each other. One key character is Hibbert, who is mainly represented negatively throughout the play due to his cowardess.
Instantly, we can view Hibberts weakness in the play as when he is first introduced the stage directions describe him as 'small, slightly built man'. His physical appearance represent how he isn't as externally strong as the other men in the trenches. This could be correlated with his mental weaknesses later on in the play. In addition, Hibbert also portrays this theme of weakness in 'I think I'll turn straight in for the night'. This creates a high level of contrast to characters like Stanhope who refuses to sleep due to his strong sense of duty. Hibbert says this shortly after Stanhope refuses going to bed, this emphasises Hibberts weaknesses and how he can't deal with the war so would much rather sleep to escape it all.
We can view Hibberts cowardess due to his multiple, embarrassing attempts to fake an illness to leave the trenches and let other men deal with the reprecussions of the war instead. Hibbert exclaims 'I'm going; I've got my stuff packed I'm going now - you can't stop me'. The fact he has aready packed his bags represents his urgency to leave before the German attack due to his fears of being killed. This represents cowardess and a lack of comradeship and unity with other soldiers. Furthermore, Hibbert says 'I swear I'll never go in these trenches again' which shows how he only has regards for his own life and doesn't care for the other soldiers sacrificing themselves for his selfish absence.
Hibbert is scared and this becomes apparent during his intense conversation with Stanhope where he confides in him after nearly facing death. He explains 'Every sound up there makes me feel - cold and sick'. This portrays the negative impact of war on Hibbert and how even when he can just hear the sounds of war he finds it unbearable. The adjective 'Cold' has connotations of pain and vulnerability which both contribute to Hibberts fear. We can view the extent of his fearfulness when he says 'I'd rather die here'. This shows how he is so frightened of fighting in the war he would rather end his life to escape it. This makes the audience feel sorry for Hibbert due to his fear and desperation to escape.
Towards the end of the play we see Hibbert contrasting his previous emotions and actually begins to boast about his sexual exploitations with women in 'I never forget about picking up a couple of tarts one night and taking 'em out to dinner'. Any sympathy the audience previously built up for him suddenly disappeared due to his crude behaviour. He labelled women as 'tarts' portraying his lack of regard for human deceny and reforms the original negative impression we had of Hibbert. After that, Hibbert takes out 'picture postcards' of women commenting on hteir features and superficial appearances. This represents how he objectifies women and makes us feel less sympathy for Hibbert due to his lack of care for others.
Overall, I think Sheriff represented Hibbert as a very selfish character, and lead the audience on a journey of different feelings and emotions towards him as his character developed throughout the play. Sheriff showed every side to Hibbert and I feel that he allowed the audience to decide on their own feelings towards Hibbert instead of pushing them to feel a certain way. We empathize him on parts where we can clearly view his intense desperation, but then we grow hatred and anger to parts where he is acting selfishly.