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Journey's End

stanhope raleigh war lieutenant

a play by R. C. Sherriff, first performed in 1928. It is set in the trenches late in the First World War, in which the author himself served as a subaltern. Captain Stanhope returns from leave, to find to his dismay that a new lieutenant, Raleigh, who hero-worshipped him at school, has inveigled his way into his company. But it is soon apparent to the boy, as to everybody else, that the heavy drinking of which Stanhope is ashamed has not compromised his competence as an officer. For instance, he deals highly effectively with a frightened lieutenant, Hibbert, who tries to report sick. Raleigh successfully captures a prisoner in a raid on the German lines, but Osborne, Stanhope's second-in-command, is killed. Raleigh, too, dies of wounds, this time in the big enemy offensive that continues as the play ends. Sherriff makes no direct condemnation of the war; but his unpretentiously authentic observation of ordinary and mostly unprotesting men helplessly trapped in an intolerable predicament carries its own message.

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