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What impression do you get of Gerald Croft?
Gerald is a character who we see many different sides to and his true character reveals as
the play progresses. At the beginning of the play, Gerald is described as an `attractive chap'
who is `well bred' which suggests that he is a likeable character who takes care of himself.
Also, he refers to Birling as `Sir' and agrees with everything he has to say which gives the
impression that he is a polite, well-mannered man who is attempting to gain the approval of
Mr and Mrs Birling.
However, later on in the play Gerald's true character begins to uncover when the Inspector
interrogates him regarding what happened between him and Eva Smith. He is portrayed as a
liar and a hypocrite and it is questionable whether he really cared about Eva. He speaks of
disgust when talking about Joe Meggarty describing him as a `notorious womanizer' with a
`fat carcass'. This gives the impression that Gerald despises the act of prostitution but yet,
admits that he was at the `palace' and just happened to `notice' other women.
Nevertheless, Gerald was the only character in the play that genuinely cared about Eva Smith
and helped her. He provided her with shelter, food and money and generally cared for her. On
the other hand, he admitted the fact that he never truly `loved' her and yet, `made love' to
her which shows that he is a hypocrite as he insulted Joe Meggarty. Also, it could be argued
that if Gerald did really care for Eva, he could have given her a job at his father's company
rather than provide her with temporary accommodation and money to last only over the
As Gerald's true character uncovers we see that he is a liar. When the Inspector first
mentions Eva's other name `Daisy', Gerald is `startled' and lies to Sheila claiming he `didn't'
know who she was. Additionally, after admitting he knew her he almost pleads Sheila not to
`say anything to the Inspector' which shows that he just wants to protect himself and his
reputation. And neither does he want to take responsibility for his actions which is ironic
because he `wishes to God' she blamed it on him. Furthermore, Gerald says he went to the
Palace `for a drink' when in reality his true motives were to `notice' other women as there
must be other bars he can attend. This also shows that he mixes with those of different
classes. Gerald even admits to lying but claims it wasn't a `complete lie' which shows his
arrogance and stubbornness to accept responsibility for Eva's death. This is not surprising
because the other characters in the play refuse to accept responsibility for Eva's death apart
from Sheila who becomes very upset and accepts the blame for her actions.
It is clear that appearances are important to most of the characters within the play,
particularly Gerald. When describing others he always begins with their appearances. For
instance, he describes the women at the palace as `hard-eyed' and `dough-faced'. He
emphasises on `old' Joe Meggarty's appearance; `goggle-eyed', `obscene fat carcass'. Lastly,
he describes in detail the way Eva looked when he first saw her. He doesn't hesitate when
describing her features and continues when the Inspector tells him to `go on'. Gerald likes
seeing himself as the `hero' or `fairy prince' who rescues Eva almost like a romantic fantasy
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which shows that he takes pride in his appearance and is aware of his attractiveness. What's
more, Eva gives him a `cry for help' suggesting that Gerald appears to be a gentleman and
trustworthy as this can suggest he is clean in his appearance.
In conclusion, the first impressions of Gerald including the stage directions are that he is an
honest, decent man of high class.…read more