Out of the characters I find that the most disturbed people after Stanhope is Hibbert and Trotter. The reasons why I think this are explained in the following paragraphs. The first character that I see as being most disturbed after Stanhope is Trotter. Trotter is an officer in Captain Stanhope’s company and seems to be the most optimistic person in the play. He seems to constantly be upbeat compared to the other officers in the company. He tells Stanhope to ‘cheer up’ during a war and never seems looks on the dull side of life in the reader’s perspective.
Sherriff suggests that he is disturbed as many soldiers go mad because of the war whilst he seems to be very happy and optimistic. Another reason why it may seem he’s disturbed is the fact that he doesn’t have to drink to take his mind of the war. During WW1 all soldiers were given 2 ounces of rum daily to help get over the war. It shows that drinking during the war was very common. Sherriff must have added in this detail based on his experiences of WW1. In act 3 scene 2 both Stanhope and Hibbert have drunk ‘whisky on top of champagne’ to the point that they have become drunk.
Trotter doesn’t seem to be a heavy drinker and seems to be surprised that Stanhope is drinking whisky after drinking champagne. In this case they drink to get over the war and to think about girls and legs but Trotter seems to be able to talk about this without much drink. This may suggest that he has no feelings about the war so he doesn’t need to drink which implies that he is disturbed. Another reason why I think that Trotter may be disturbed ,which links to the last line above, is the idea that Trotter has little feelings or emotions that are visible.
Although he does say in act 3 scene 2 that he does have emotions when he’s questioned by Stanhope, it could be seen that he is lying. We know that Stanhope, Trotter and Osborne seem to get along with each other showing that they have known each other for a while meaning that they must know a bit about each other’s character. In act 2 scene 1 we see Stanhope and Osborne discussing Trotter’s lack of imagination. It shows that he doesn’t seem to have feelings. Sherriff could be suggesting that this is what happens to people during the war.
They lose their feelings and imagination. Another character that I see as being disturbed is Hibbert. Throughout the play Hibbert continuously goes on about having neuralgia. Neuralgia was a common illness that affected many soldiers which was an intense pain along the course of a nerve especially in the face. He tries to use this as an excuse to leave the war before the big attack by the Germans. It could be seen that he is being cowardly as he is trying to escape the war which could count as deserting the army.
We can tell that he is also homesick when he states that ‘I shall die of this pain if I can’t’ leave. It shows his disturbed state of mind and his feelings of being tormented by war. However, Stanhope sees through his disguise and tells Hibbert that he will be shot for deserting. Deserting was a slight problem during WW1 as 346 British soldiers were executed for either desertion, cowardice or striking a superior officer. Hibbert commits every single one of these crimes showing he is one of the few people that have become so disturbed that they rather die than stay in the trenches.
This is shown when he swears that he will ‘never go into these trenches again’ and encourages Stanhope to ‘Shoot! ’. He also has come to the point where he dares to strike a superior officer which is shown as he tries to leave for the doctors Stanhope stops him and Hibbert ‘strikes blindly’ at him. These actions show that he is disturbed and should be executed for multiple offences. Another reason why I believe that Hibbert is disturbed is because of the pictures that he carries around with him.
In act 3 scene 2 we see Stanhope, Trotter and Hibbert drinking champagne and talking about women. Hibbert later on pulls out a couple of erotic pictures of women and shows them to the other officers. This shows that he may b slightly disturbed to carry around pictures like that. We would usually expect a soldier to bring a picture of this family or of their fiance or wife like Stanhope did in act 1. We do not expect someone to have those inappropriate pictures with them especially when it is against the law.
Having multiple pictures of women that he had affairs with may suggest that he is disturbed. Sherriff could be using his type of behaviour to describe what his fellow soldiers brought around and talked about in WW1. Overall, I believe that Sheriff presents the disturbed characters based on his experiences of war and how he saw his fellow soldiers behave like. He presents the characters as either cowards or as people who have no or little emotions visible. He shows the true reality of war and how people think and act during it. Words: 971