An Inspector Calls

Gerald and the Ideology Behind Him in "An Inspector Calls" 10th Grade

In the play An Inspector Calls, the character of Gerald Croft is extremely significant, as he is the only perpetrator not to be a part of the Birling household. He is also the character who knew Eva Smith most intimately and has many significant ties to all of the Birling family, the largest of those being with Sheila. Yet he is also significant on a deeper thematic level: he is central to conveying playwright J.B. Priestley's ideas of collective responsibility and acts as one of the harshest examples of the unacceptance of these ideas.

At the beginning of the play, Gerald is introduced as a member of the upper class whose position in society is held by ‘old money’. He almost flirts with Mr. Birling at his engagement dinner, and when Birling puts forward the idea of lower wages and higher prices, in a private conversation with Gerald, Gerald applauded the idea, saying “Hear, hear!”. Here, Priestley is trying to convey how the upper class’ ideals revolve around money. Gerald’s outburst of joy signifies this, as the audience may infer that he is ecstatic to the idea of further business resulting in further prosperity for himself. An audience in 1945 would be appalled by this, after a world war where the middle and lower classes...

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