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Discuss The Role Of Eric Birling In The Play: An Inspector Calls.

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Introduction

Discuss The Role Of Eric Birling In The Play: An Inspector Calls Eric, I think, plays an extremely important role in the play: An Inspector Calls, probably because of his difference in personality from the other protagonists. Eric is a young man who likes getting his own way and being the centre of attention. I know this because he says things like "Look here I've had enough of this," which shows that he is willing to take control of a situation and impose his views on others, making him a key character in the play. Because of his assertiveness he is able to capture the audience's attention and therefore keeps the people watching gripped, which obviously proves to be quite useful, when trying to create a successful play. At the beginning of act one, all the characters are quite pleased with themselves as they have just enjoyed a meal, to celebrate the future wedding of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft. It is difficult to assume what Eric's personality is like at first because he has been seemingly influenced by drink. This, I think, is obvious because after reading the stage directions I can see that "Eric suddenly guffaws" apparently for no reason, and also Sheila accuses him of being "squiffy". ...read more.

Middle

I also think this daring quality in Eric appeals to the audience because, they enjoy watching the family rift between a young, unmarried "man about town" and his "pompous business owner" father. Eric seems very calm and collected until page twenty two where he bursts out "Look here I've had enough of this!" I think this helps to build up Eric's personality, because at this point the audience realises he cracks under pressure, and therefore isn't as cool and relaxed as he makes out to be. Some people may argue that Eric is not a very important character in the play because he doesn't feature at all in Act Two, and at this point the audience may have lost interest in him however his opening line of Act Three makes all the difference. He says "You know, don't you," which immediately makes the audience desperate to see the reaction of the rest of the family towards Eric. At this point in the play Eric is resoundingly miserable as, according to the stage directions, he says something "bitterly." Sheila, whom Eric normally gets on fairly well with, has finally gotten to him and he snaps at her when he says "You told her. ...read more.

Conclusion

In order to understand fully why Eric's thoughts and actions are so unique I need to understand the social situation of people in that time. The play is set in 1912, which was a time when money and class were extremely important in peoples' lives. I think this factor makes Eric seem more heroic somehow, because he is an upper class person acting in a way that marked the change in the entire social system at that time, because he is willing to stand up for a girl who is in a much lower class than himself. I think that the time the audience admires Eric the most, is at the end of the play when the family has discovered that the inspector wasn't real, and that the entire story was a hoax. I think this because he and Sheila are united against the rest of the family in their fight to make them see differently, and change their ways. For the audience, I would say this has to be one of the most dramatic scenes in the play because, for once, it seems that the older, more pompous members of the family are going to be upstaged by young Sheila and Eric. The excellent idea of the final page brings the entire play together, thus proving Eric to be right, and therefore more knowledgeable. Danielle Jones 10M ...read more.

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