Importance Of Eric Birling In An Inspector Calls

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Eric Birling is a seemingly less important character in J.B. Priestley’s thriller, An Inspector Calls, but upon deep analysis, we can see that Eric is a character of great significance and has a huge impact on the play. This can be seen through the structure and shape of this whodunit and some of the language and stage directions.
Eric is a very effective tool that Priestley uses to keep the tension going; be it the difference of opinion he has with his father or the suspicious behaviour, or even later on in the play, his absence which is the peak of tension.
In the beginning of the play in the stage directions, Eric is described as a person ‘in his early twenties, not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive’. This is quite a strange and
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This could also be because of the Inspector’s presence.
Eric is a flawed character who is cushioned from reality due to his family’s wealth, ‘You’ve a lot to learn,’ his father says. We also see this when Mr. Birling goes on about public schools and how Eric doesn’t know how life is when you start from the bottom. When the Inspector is present, he cannot cope with the stress because he is not conditioned to; he feels the need to leave the room, ‘Look here, I’ve had enough of this.’ He has never had to deal with problems firsthand. He is quite spoilt.
His spoilt nature is shown when he forces himself on Eva, or at least when he confesses that he did. He has never had to worry. We see that he seeks pleasure irrespective of the cost. This can also link back to the beginning of the play, when he was unhappy, maybe he was due to this sin of gluttony or lust that he had committed. He realized that it was a hellish thing to do as per his quotations. He is spoilt and it can be seen through this infantile pursuit of pleasure he has, he doesn’t care who gets hurt, as long as he gets what he
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When it comes to the mothers, they are close at first, when they are younger, but as they grow up, they stop sharing things, hence Mrs. Birling’s unawareness of his drinking problem. With their sisters, they sort of always just stay bickering but that’s just how they express love. Siblings grow and learn together. We see this at the end when both Eric and Sheila learn their lesson of this social responsibility; that it doesn’t matter whether the Inspector was real or not, all that matters is that they have done something morally wrong, that may or may not result in someone’s

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