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Blackadder Goes Forth and Journey’s End Essay

The ending scene for both Journey’s End and Black Adder Goes Forth are similar and different in many ways. For example, the last episode of Black Adder Goes Forth greatly affects the viewer by pursuing the idea that history as it was written and has been taught is incorrectly. In having this approach, it is like the audience is rediscovering history and uncovering the truth of our ancestors for the first time.

Not only does this capture the viewer’s attention, but it entertains them as well as touching them on an emotional and comedic level by showing the real life orders trench’s but deliberately miss hearing what the orders were. Viewers, however, also know that these orders are not to be taken seriously and are only there for the comedy value. An example of this is when one soldier states that the reason for the war was because someone shot an ostrich out of hunger. The majority of viewers know this is not true, but the episode and character plays the comic seriousness to perfection.

However, Journey’s End shows the more serious side of the war and trench life by being a serious side of the war and trench life by being a serious play with no real comedic value. One soldier is very excited about the idea of defending his country; in fact he is so honoured by this chance, that he does not accept a way out of the trenches when he is offered; even though Blackadder realizes their fate when the go above the trenches and tries to explain he will die. I never imagined anything as awful as war” this also shows the serious nature that war has on its soldiers, this is also shown when another soldier states that he wants the dying to stop, and everyone to go home, because he cannot see a reason for war, this links in Sassoon’s declaration where he states war has gone from one of “defence and liberation” to one of “aggression and conquest”. Even George has to try and push these thoughts out of his mind and replace them with thoughts of patriotism and the great honour dying for ones county has.

This is much like Raleigh in Journey’s End when he first enters the battalion and his innocence is intact because he does not know the true horrors of war yet. Act three scene three of Journey’s End is the very last scene of the play. From almost the very beginning we have known that an attack from the German opposition is inevitable. However, the character in the play are not sure when it will take place or what form it will take place in, as the attack could happen in any moment meaning the ension is high throughout and especially in the final scene. This is not the only tension in the script. At the beginning of act three scene three, Raleigh and Stanhope, two of the most prominent characters, have had a large argument about the death of a mutual friend, which is not resolved until the beginning of the final scene. The strain on their relationship has been tense for the duration of the play and was heightened by the hero worshipping Raleigh did for Stanhope.

As they were previously well acquainted before they were both in the battalion Stanhope fears that Raleigh would look at him badly and tell people on the home front what he has become, an alcoholic, and Stanhope chooses to ignore their previous relationship and address him as a new Officer. This contrasts with Blackadder Goes Forth, because as Colonel Melchett knows George he uses this to his advantage by manipulating him into showing propaganda to the men; however Colonel Melchett also has an underlying theme of worry for George and seems to offer him many ways out of fighting the war because he knows his death is inevitable.

To conclude I feel that Blackadder Goes Forth and Journey’s End and two completely different plays. However, they both share few similar themes, for example they both share the theme of hero worship, where soldiers look o authority figures for guidance which again opposes the view that Sassoon has on the war.

They also share the theme of waiting, because both plays are waiting to ‘go over the top’ and neither plays want to because they know that your death was sure if you do so due to the heavy equipment the Germans have. Although, I believe Journey’s End is much more a serious play whereas Blackadder Goes Forth uses comedy and takes from the impact it could truly have if it was more realistic to trench life, but it still shows the fear and anger of many men when regarding the war.


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