Write about Gerald Croft his role in the play, character and relationships

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Write about Gerald Croft – his role in the play, character and relationships

John Priestley, born in 1894, was a British playwright. He lived through both world wars, serving in the first before being wounded by mortar fire. He did not serve in the second, but instead, was a radio presenter on a show called “The Postscript”, which had extremely high viewer rates. He was one of the co-founders of the Commonwealth Party. He has strong views against Thatcherism and the “every man for himself” policy. These views come out strongly in his plays and especially in An Inspector Calls. Gerald and Mr Birling have very Thatcheristically influenced views and the Inspector was the role created to show Gerald and Mr Birling how wrong they were, although neither of them change at the end of the play.

Gerald Croft is the heir to Croft’s Limited, and therefore has a great deal of money. He is described by Priestley as a “young man about town”, as if Gerald knows where to go for a good time, although in a bad way, because he is shown to be a habitué of the Palace Bar, a well known pick up joint in Brumley, where the Birlings reside. This also shows Gerald to be a player. He is essentially the same to Mr Birling, sharing the same views on women and business as Mr Birling. He is a smooth talker, using vocabulary synonymous with upper-class families and uses ‘smarm and charm’ to win over the Birlings. He also uses language to assert authority, for example, “Fortunately, it isn’t left to you, is it?” where he tries to intimidate the Inspector. Unfortunately the Inspector merely rebukes him with a well reasoned and logical answer. He is confident, perhaps overly so, and this leads him to be big-headed and full of pride or hubris. He thinks he will always get away with it, whatever “it” may be. However, pride often comes before a fall, and this is exactly what happens to Gerald. The Birlings consider Gerald to be a perfect match for Sheila Birling, because he is “attractive” and rich, which will raise Sheila’s and the family’s social standing. He has many different disguises for different people, appearing to be the perfect son-in-law to Mr Birling, the suave and smooth socialite to Mrs Birling, the ideal husband to Sheila and a good friend to Eric. However, when the Inspector tears these disguises down, Gerald does not know to react towards the Inspector and his questions and seems lost for words. By the end of the play, we see that Gerald is a coward and has shied away from confessing to his wrongdoing.

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Gerald’s family are a higher social class than the Birlings, having a high social standing, yet Gerald “aspires” to become a Birling. He sees this as an opportunity to get rid of a business rival, and therefore his engagement to Sheila is for convenience. To make sure that his engagement to Sheila seems right and genuine, and therefore securing her hand in marriage, Gerald must appease Mr and Mrs Birling and show them that he is the perfect son-in-law. He is not socially awkward, which Mrs Birling favours, and he agrees with everything Mr Birling says, which is shown most ...

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