How does Priestly present Eric in "An Inspector Calls"?

Authors Avatar by zactaibel1hotmailcom (student)

In the opening stage directions, Priestly refers to Eric as ‘not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive’.

How does priestly present these and other ideas about Eric in an Inspector calls?


Eric is described at the start of the play "in his early twenties" which suggests that he would be going out with his friends to party and drink. He is also so described as "not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive" This suggests that he is a complicated man, the audience from the beginning of the play cannot fully understand Eric, they know that something is not right.

At the beginning of the play Eric is very suspicious, he gives the impression to the audience that he is hiding something "Eric suddenly guffaws" then he is unable to control his laughter, as if he is nervous about something. Priestly keeps making remarks about Eric’s unusual characteristics, the reason he does is to make the audience feel nervous around him, like you could be expecting anything when he says something. From Eric’s language he uses he can tell that he is drunk, and not himself, “Good old Shelia!” Priestley’s use of the exclamation mark emphasises Eric’s exaggeration and makes the audience wonder why he is acting so strange.

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The audience gets hints that Eric is a drunk from the off, Shelia says “you’re squiffy” he denies straight away with an aggressive tone, which what a drunk person would do. The audience could be wondering why Eric is a drinker, they could assume it’s because he’s done something bad, and he wants to forget about it by drinking his problems away. Mrs Birling shouts at Shelia “What an expression Shelia!” for saying such a thing although it is true, because it would be an embarrassment for a wealthy, high social ranked family to have a twenty year old ...

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