How is Eric presented in Act One Of “An Inspector Calls”?
In the beginning of the play, Eric is seen as distant from the rest of the Birling family. This implies that Eric is can sometimes be very assertive whilst speaking but other times he will be quite embarrassed and timid to join in. The first mention of him in the play is the line “Eric suddenly guffaws,” and then he is unable to explain his laughter, as if he is nervous about something. There is another awkward moment when Gerald, Mr Birling and Eric are chatting about women’s love of clothes before the Inspector arrives. This could imply that there is slight tension in the relationship between Mr Birling and Eric. J. B. Priestly describes Eric as in his “early twenties, not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive”. We discover early in the play that Eric has a drinking problem and that he has been drinking steadily for almost two years. Eric is seen as a disappointment to his parents and the opposite of Gerald Croft. His parents clearly do not take him seriously and their lack of parental love may also have contributed to his low self-esteem and heavy drinking. He has been granted an expensive education by his parents and as such felt compelled to join his father’s business whom he steals money from to fund his alcohol dependency.