CHARACTER ANALYSIS: GERALD CROFT (NOTES)
In the opening stage directions Gerald is perceived to be a self-assured, well mannered “man-about-town” and he attempts to do and say what he hope Mr. & Mrs. Birling will agree with. His true personality is not exposed until the Inspector interrogates him and pricks his conscience. Additionally, he is persistent on being part of the family, as by marrying Sheila, it follows the social regulations:
“Gerald: …I insist on being part of the family now. I’ve been trying long enough haven’t I? (As she does not rely, with more insistence.) Haven’t I? You I know I have.”(Act 1)
The repetition of “haven’t I?” further enhances his longing to be part of the Birling family as they are recognized and looked up upon in society. Moreover, this portrays his narcissistic and superficial mentality.
Gerald’s relationship with Sheila becomes evident in Act 1. Sheila loves Gerald and feels he’s a “good catch”, however Gerald doesn’t have any deep feelings for her. Gerald in return expresses his love for Sheila by presenting to her an engagement ring; this could also have been an attempt to reduce her anger with him over his “busy period at work”. Even though Gerald has an intimate relationship with Sheila he does not consider it seriously as he fools around at bars and nightclubs looking for women to accompany him when he is away from Sheila. Gerald’s chief motive for marrying Sheila is because she ‘fits’ in his social grouping unlike Daisy Renton who is of low standings. Gerald claims his first motive as he saw Daisy Renton was because she was being molested by “Joe Meggarty”, but however his speech began with describing her physical appearances, “very pretty” and “young and fresh and charming”, this truly reveals his initial intention to confront her as he was attracted to her appearance.