Black Watch: character motivation and interaction

Black Watch: character motivation and interaction

Character Motivation in Black Watch

Sergeant Major

  • The Sergeant Major represents an old order of military service where discipline, loyalty, and tradition are key values.
  • His motivation lies in maintaining operational order, adhering to tradition, and fostering male camaraderie.
  • His interactions revolve around command, discipline, and occasional humour with the soldiers.


  • Cammy typifies the ordinary soldier caught up in a war they don’t fully understand.
  • His motivation is survival and looking out for his fellow soldiers.
  • Emotional depth emerges in Cammy’s interactions as he often comments on war’s practicalities and illogical aspects.


  • Rossco represents younger soldiers who join the army out of enthusiasm or lack of opportunities.
  • His motivation originates from a misinformed ideal of war, stemming from societal and economic factors.
  • Rossco’s interactions occasionally reveal vulnerability, contrasting with his tough exterior.


  • As the only non-military character, the Writer acts as a civilian perspective on the war and the regiment’s lifestyle.
  • His motivation lies in seeking to understand and document the military life and its impact.
  • Through inquiries and conversations, the Writer draws out soldiers’ personal experiences and perspectives.

Character Interaction in Black Watch

Between Soldiers

  • Interactions between soldiers are a blend of banter, rough humour, and implicit mutual respect. These conversations give the audience insight into their camaraderie and relationship dynamics.
  • Shared wartime experiences, including fear, danger, and loss, deepen their bond and understanding of each other’s motivations.

Between Writer and Soldiers

  • Interactions between the writer and soldiers are initially marked by curiosity (on the writer’s part) and suspicion (on the soldiers’ part).
  • However, as the play progresses, the soldiers gradually open up, showcasing their differing motivations, worldviews, and emotional responses.
  • Their dialogues position the audience to see the soldiers as more than just uniformed men, bringing depth to their characters.

Between Soldiers and Sergeant Major

  • The Sergeant-Major and soldiers’ exchanges reflect the military hierarchy. Direct orders, reprimands, and explanations are common.
  • However, the underlying respect and trust backing these interactions draw attention to the strong bonds within the regiment.