In the story, “An Inspector Calls,” J.
B Priestley illustrates that despite both men being of similar age and coming from wealthy, upper class families, they have significance differences throughout the play. Gerald Croft is landed gentry as he is the son of a wealthy industrialist, self-confident and assured from the beginning of the play and has just become engaged to Sheila Birling. On the other hand, Eric Birling shows himself to be slightly immature, unsure of himself and also he drinks too much.
Each character is shown to have a different type of affair; Eric clearly forced himself on Eva Smith/ Daisy Renton. However Gerald is shown to have true feeling for Daisy Renton and cares for her wellbeing. We have less sympathy towards him because he keeps Daisy as his mistress and glories in all her attention, when as an audience would have known that Gerald could have given her job at his father’s factory. Furthermore, others aspects of play would allow the audience to sympathise more with Eric than Gerald. An example of an aspect comes in Act One, when Mr Birling is questioned by the inspector.
Mr Birling, in an attempt to pass on blame, comes up with various reasons why he fired Eva Smith. Eric protests this decision, showing a new side to his character.The fact that “Why shouldn’t they try for higher wages? We try for the highest possible prices.” Eric attempts to shed light on the hypocrisy of the upper class in 1912, therefore highlighting how he is more socially aware than Gerald.Moreover, he mentions “I’d have let her stay” emphasising how Eric would be a different employer than his father and be more compassionate,he also shows hints that he has more socialist views. During Eric’s lifetime socialism was becoming more popular and workers started to form unions and go on strikes for higher wages and better working conditions.
One of the most well-known strikes was actually in 1912; the national coal strike fo…