Discuss the character of Jimmy Porter in Look back in anger explaining how you feel about him as we move through the main action of the play. Have your ideas changed about him by the time we reach the play’s final scene?
Jimmy Porter is the play's main character. He is the "Angry Young Man" who expresses his frustration for the lack of feelings in his placid domestic life. Jimmy can be understood as both a hero for his unfiltered expressions of emotion and frustration in a culture that propagated unemotional resignation. He can also be considered a villain for the ways in which his anger proves to be destructive to those in his life. All of these characteristics are shown as the play moves on. A play like Look Back in Anger creates a world which, in essence, is familiar to, reality, rather than an imaginative dislocation of reality, and it becomes easier for the mind to sidetrack onto an element which may be more pleasing to it than the main theme of the play. Constant reference is made, even by people who liked the play, to Jimmy Porter's self-pity, his neurotic behaviour, his cruelty to his wife. This makes nonsense of the play; Jimmy Porter is devoid of any neurosis or self-pity, and the play is summed up in his cry against a negative world, "Oh heavens, how I long for a little ordinary human enthusiasm. Just enthusiasm—that's all. I want to hear a warm, thrilling voice cry out Hallelujah! Hallelujah! I'm alive."… Would Look Back in Anger have been the success it was if people had been forced to listen to this damning indictment of themselves as dead souls, instead of being allowed to stray into less dangerous channels.(pp. 45-6)Tom Milne, "The Hidden Face of Violence" (originally published in Encore, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1960; copyright © by Encore), in Modern British Dramatists: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by John Russell Brown, Prentice-Hall, 1968, pp. 38-46. This criticism I find to be true, Jimmy as a character does not dwell in self pity or...
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