Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel

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What is Gerry Evans' role in Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel?

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Gerry Evans is Michael's father and the off-and-on lover of Michael's mother, Chris Mundy. Dabbling unsuccessfully in various occupations (he's a gramophone salesman with aspirations of fighting in the Spanish Civil War when we meet him), Gerry is a flirtatious, charming, charismatic figure who shirks his responsibilities as a father. Despite all this, it's hard to completely despise Gerry; even though he's hardly an upstanding person, Brian Friel resists painting him as a pure villain, and we get the sense that he does care for the Mundy family, in his way.

That said, Gerry's primary role in the play seems to be to disrupt the Mundy sisters' way of life. Arriving unexpectedly and dancing with several of the sisters, Gerry awakens old passions and inspires new, bitter feelings. As such, though he's not completely chaotic, Gerry does seem to be a primarily destabilizing force in the play, as he intrudes on the Mundy sisters' quiet life and awakens divisive and passionate emotions. 

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