For my essay I chose Eric because of his difference in personality from the other protagonist. Eric is a young man who likes getting his own way and being the centre of attention.
I said this because of this quote” Look here I’ve had enough of this, “which shows that he willing to take control of a situation and impose his views on others. The quotes call the audience attention. At beginning of act one, all the characters are quite enjoying Sheila engagement with Gerald. In this act Eric begins to laugh uncontrollably and rises from his chair (“Suddenly guffaws), Sheila question what he is laughing about he replies that he just felt the need to laugh, Sheila calls him “squiffy”. Erick provokes her sister and she calls him an ass , at which point Mrs. Birling tells the two of them to stop it.
(in this act Eric is acting strangely for reasons we don’t know yet but we will know with play progresses)When he is first introduced in the opening stage directions. We’re told that Eric is “not quite at ease”. He is apparently “half shy” and half assertive”. During her sister engagement he interrupts Sheila and Gerald when he “suddenly guffaws” and when Sheila ask him why he’s laughing but he says he doesn’t know why he’s laughing . He finds things his family say funny , even when there’s no joke this shows that he was drunk.
He’s quite noisy when he tells Gerald that Sheila’s got temper he was probably drunk, He’s in an “excitable , silly mood” according to his mum. Eric get mad/paranoid when Gerald and his dad make the joke about his dad’s knighthood. Gerald says “unless Eric is been up to something”, and Eric acts suspiciously and seriously he says” I don’t think its very funny”. He says “still uneasy”, and also answer “defiantly”.
During Sheila and Gerald Dinner seems to be Nervous , irresponsible, inappropriate, drunk and unstable. Sheila realized he drinks a bit, but no one in the family really realises how messed up Eric really is , firstly he’s a drinker a heavy drinker , and he has been for a while , we can see Eric’s “familiarity with quick heavy drinking” in the way he pours his whisky in Act three. The rest of the family sees it too. His family doesn’t care about him , his dad sees him as a “boy” still. We get the the feeling he wishes Eric was a bit like Gerald, his dad also seems to be regret paying for his schooling particularly when Eric makes comment that show sympathy for the workers instead of the bosses .
Mr Birling says angrily: ” its about time you learnt to face a few responsibilities” Mr Birling is more worry about his business and social scandal. Sheila seems to care about Eric , but mostly seems to pity him because he’s I a mess. She doesn’t really try to help him , she just says ” I don’t want to get poor Eric into trouble but” otherwise her Husband Gerald treats Eric like a younger brother. In act three Eric’s mums says “I’m absolutely ashamed of you”. He is angry with her for turning Eva Smith away from her charity, and effectively killing her grandchild.
He yells, ‘Damn you, damn you’ and gets quite aggressive with her: ‘(almost threatening her) You don’t understand anything. You never did. You never even tried’. Poor Eric no one likes him or knows him because his family only care about appearances not happiness . Eric is irresponsible, an alcoholic who sleeps with prostitutes, Eric is an alcoholic , Eva smith was a prostitute.
Eric got her pregnant and he remembers very little about it . He has stolen money from his father’s business to support her. Eric doesn’t have many friends people to talk to give him an advise, his family certainly aren’t on his side, in fact no one seems to be on his side. He feels isolated and unsupported, he’s had a neglected childhood and has had to find comfort elsewhere. He gets the readers sympathy because he and Sheila differ from their parents , Sheila refers to them as “these others” who are uncaring and insensitive, he also gets our sympathy because he sticks up for the workers and he’s obviously a bit of a mess. During the play Eric recognize is mistakes , take responsibility for them , and learning from them.
And he does seem to do that. He accuses the other of pretending nothing’s happened and he says ” you lot may be letting yourselves out nicely”, he acknowledges he stole money and tells Gerald , Eric knows ” the money’s not the important thing”.He knows that the life of the girl is more important than that unlike his father and mother , he gets depressed that his parents seem to be having ” cosy chat” about it.By the end of play he accepts responsibility for what he did” the fact remains that I did what I did”