Hibbert in Journey's End

Frightened

Hibbert is described as “a small, slightly built man” in Sherriff’s stage directions. This - perhaps stereotypical - description seems to foreshadow that he will be weak and cowardly as a solider.

His lack of strength in the face of the horrors of war leads Stanhope to threaten to shoot him for desertion if he leaves.

Hibbert’s hysterics in front of Stanhope show him as desperate to escape the trenches.

He claims to have neuralgia - sudden attacks of severe sharp shooting facial pain – hoping that this will grant him a medical reprieve from fighting.

While his claim may be viewed by some of the men as cowardice, it is certainly fear that makes him act this way.

Unpleasant

Hibbert is presented as quite a dislikeable character. Stanhope describes him as a "Little worm” with a “repulsive little mind". He doesn’t easily fit in with the men.

He tries to be sociable by joking. But his crude postcards of women and references to them as “tarts” - especially while getting drunk after the deaths of other men - create an unfavourable impression.

While Trotter tries to defend him, the audience feel little sympathy for Hibbert as throughout the play he fails to do his duty as the other men do.

Even at the end we see him taking as long as possible - “wasting as much time as [he] can” according to Stanhope - to go up and help fight the attack that kills Raleigh.