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If I Were You

02 If I Were You

‘If I were you’ is a story of an encounter between Gerrard, a cultured playwright and a criminal. This criminal intrudes Gerrard’s house and asks him many questions on gun point. Gerrard seems to be very confident and answers his questions with wit, irony and humour.

The play opens with Gerrard standing by the table making a phone call. As he puts down the phone and starts packing his belongings, another man, similar in build to Gerrard enters with a revolver in hand.

The story revolves round the Gerrard’s encounter with a criminal. This criminal who was trying to escape from the police had planned to replace Gerrard after killing him. Now Gerrard was an intelligent man. He was not the one to be fooled easily. Using his presence of mind, he told the intruder that he himself was a criminal and was trying to escape the cops. Thus, he puts himself in the shoes of the intruder to get rid of him and hand him over to the police.

Meanings of words and phrases

  • melodramatic: much stronger emotions than are necessary or usual for a situation
  • nonchalant: casually calm and relaxed
  • inflection: modulation of intonation or pitch in the voice
  • trifle: a thing of little value or importance
  • sarcasm: use of remarks that clearly mean the opposite of what they say, made in order to hurt someone’s feelings or to criticize something in a humorous way
  • gratuitous: something done without a good reason
  • pantomime: the art or technique of conveying emotions, actions, feelings, etc., by gestures without speech
  • elude: escape from or avoid
  • queer: strange
  • disguise: give someone or oneself a different appearance in order to conceal one’s identity
  • musingly: in a reflective or thoughtful manner
  • muddled: confused

Character Sketch


Gerrard is the main character of the story ‘If I were you’. He appears to be a director or actor of plays. In the story, we learn that he is a quiet man and keeps to himself. He doesn’t mingle much with people. Despite that, he is an active and a wise man, who always keeps his calm even in adverse conditions. He uses his presence of mind to come out of difficult situations. He takes on the intruder with confidence and nonchalance. With his wit and a clever plan, he traps the intruder and thus, manages to save himself, probably from being killed.

The Intruder:

The intruder is a dangerous criminal who had committed the serious crime of murdering someone. He enters Gerrard’s cottage and threatens him at gunpoint. Although he appears to have a plan, he has a major character flaw. From his actions and dialogues we know that he is not very confident and is scared. Also, he makes the mistake of revealing his plan to Gerrard who in turn uses it against him. Ultimately he succumbs to Gerrard’s plan and thus gets caught.

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