Dreary Work In The Trenches Act 1 Analysis

868 Words4 Pages
An inevitable part of trench life was the tedious task of maintaining the trenches when not under fire. In one newspaper, a soldier reports that trench life is “simply, dull, dreary work...where there’s more mud than glory and more chills on the liver than cheers” (“Dreary Work in the Trenches”). The same type of complaint of dreary work is held by the soldiers in the play who complain of “twelve weary hours..and wasting hours...and hot and heavy hours” of transporting ammunition (O’Casey 34). The alternative, according to the first soldier, is “glory” and “cheers”. However, surrounding this scene are two sets of stage directions which detail past and future destruction. The opening stage directions describe what remains of the area: “heaps…show more content…
Act One had been more realistic and had focused on individual characters’ interactions with each other. However, in Act Two, nearly all the characters are nameless and are instead, listed only as numbered soldiers. The act opens with three of the unnamed soldiers complaining about their conditions, which they describe, in turn as “cold and wet and tir’d”, “wet and tir’d and cold”, and “tir’d and cold and wet”. This dialogue here seems more to take the function of a monologue broken up and divided amongst the speakers as each line is a repetition of a previous soldier’s line without any interaction between the lines. It indicates the anonymity and repetition of military life in which none of the soldier’s voices matter on an individual level. Their non-identification reflects a culture during the war in which they can only be named by their occupation. This wartime namelessness is then reflected in numerous newspaper articles about unidentified soldiers being either on the battlefield or in hospitals, a problem so large that it eventually forced one Parisian hospital to cremate all of the bodies that they had of unidentified soldiers (“Unidentified Bodies to Be
Open Document