Look Back in Anger

John Osborne

John Osborne

  • Middle- Class family.
  • Hated his mother. She was hypocritical and self-observed.
  • Adored his father. He passed away when John was 11 years old.
  • Journalist and stage director - then an actor and a play writer.
  • A angry young man.
  • Look Back in Anger was revolutionary.
  • Nominated for a Tony award, Broadway and a movie.
  • Continued to write "angry" plays.
  • In 1991 his plays were getting boring


Look Back In Anger Richard Burton pt 2

The Plot

The Play Look Back in Anger is about Jimmy and Alison Porter, an unhappy married young couple who live in a small attic with their friend Cliff Lewis. Jimmy is a working-class and is very angry about life in general and much of his anger is directed at Alison and her middle-class background. Alison is encouraged by her friend Helena to leave Jimmy and go live with her parents. Alison is pregnant with Jimmy’s baby but knows that he will not want is and she has had enough with his attitude. Helena then falls in love with Jimmy, who she has always hated passionately. But the play ends with Alison, who lost her baby, comes back to the attic, Helena moves out because she realizes that this affair is wrong and Jimmy and Alison go back together when Jimmy has realized what a great suffer Alison has gone through and will now understand his anger better.


Angry Young man

The timeline

The Outer setting The play happens in 1956. In a post war England.

Inner time frame The play is divided into three acts. The first act starts a morning in April. The second one is divided into two scenes which happens two weeks after the first act and the evening after. Third act also has two scenes. The first one happens few months after act 2 and the second scene of the third act is seconds before the play ends.


I think that the time can't be changed in this play. There is to much historical context.

Look Back In Anger Full Movie

The Characters

Jimmy Porter

Tall, thin, working-class, twenty-five years old, self-observed, mentally abusive towards his wife, an angry young man.


A disconcerting mixture of sincerity and cheerful malice, of tenderness and free booting cruelty; restless importunate, full of pride, a combination which alienates the sensitive and insensitive alike. Blistering honesty, or apparent honesty, like his, makes few friends. To many he may seem sensitive to the point of vulgarity. To others, he is simply a loudmouth.


  • Lost his father when he was 10 years old.
  • Need every one to listen to him, needs the audience.
  • Doesn't seem to be able to really love anyone.
  • Happy that Alison has suffered.
  • Plays the victim.


Alison Porter

Tall, thin, big eyes, really beautiful, middle-class family.


Hers is the most elusive personality to catch in the uneasy polyphony of these three people. She is turned in a different key, a key of well-bred malaise that is often drowned in the robust orchestration of the other two.



  • Her family lived in India til 1947.
  • Get used to things.
  • Thinks that Jimmy married her out of hate not love.
  • Married Jimmy out of rebellion.
  • Stockholm syndrome ?
  • Alison hurts Jimmy by not listening to him.


Cliff Lewis

Short, big boned, working-class, 25 years old, Welsh, poorly educated.


He is easy and relaxed, almost to lethargy, with the rather sad, natural intelligence of the self-taught. He is a soothing, natural counterpoint to Jimmy.



  • Non romantic relationship with Alison.
  • Lives with Alison and Jimmy.
  • Jimmy talks down to him a lot.
  • Moves out when he has had enough with Helena.


Helena Charles

Middle-class, 25 years old, strong, actress, medium high, carefully and expensively dressed. Attractive if she would stop looking at people with judgmental expression.


Her sense of matriarchal authority makes most men who meet her anxious, not only to please but impress, as if she were the gracious representative of visiting royalty. Even from young women like Alison, she receives her due of respect and admiration. She is not accustomed to having to defend herself against catcalls. However, her sense of modestly exalted responsibility enables her to behave with an impressive show of strength and dignity, although the strain of this is beginning to tell on her a little.



  • Hates Jimmy with passion.
  • Gets Alison to leave and takes over her place in the attic.
  • Jimmy and Helena a good couple.
  • Is starting to break.


Colonel Redfern

Alison father, large, handsome, about sixty years old, solider for forty years.



Forty years of being a soldier sometimes conceals the essentially gentle, kindly man underneath. Brought up to command respect, he is often slightly withdrawn and uneasy now that he finds himself in a world where his authority has lately become less and less unquestionable. His wife would relish the present situation, but he is only disturbed and bewildered by it


  • The Colonel symbolizes the softening of the British character.
  • Jimmy feels sorry for the Colonel.

SuTCo: Look Back in Anger trailer

Stage

The scene is a fairly large attic room, at the top of a large Victorian house. The ceiling slopes down quite sharply from Left to Right. Down-right are two small low windows. In front of these is a dark oak dressing table. Most of the furniture is simple, and rather old. Up Right, is a double bed, running the length of most of the back wall, the rest of which is taken up with a shelf of books. Down right, below the bed is a heavy chest of drawers, covered with books, neckties and odds and ends, including a large, tattered toy teddy bear and soft, woolly squirrel. Up left is a door. Below this a small wardrobe. Most of the wall left is taken up with a high, oblong window. This looks out on to the landing, but light comes through it from a skylight beyond. Below the wardrobe is a gas stove, and, besides this, a wooden food cupboard, on which is a small portable radio. Down center is a sturdy dining table and three chairs, and below this, left and right, two deep, shabby leather armchairs.



  • Trumpet playing jazz and church bells in the background.
  • The play all happens in this one room.


Look Back in Anger - Highlights

Studying the play

  • Lots of Stage directions.
  • Tells us sometimes what tone they use.
  • No hidden symbols.
  • They sometimes mean more than is seem.
  • The show is a circle.


My play

  • Cross out the stage directions.
  • Cross out Osborne's set idea.

  • Two armchairs, ironing board, newspapers, drawer, teddy bear and squirrel.


My actors :

Colonel Redfern (Alison father) - Arnar Jónsson

Jimmy Porter - Atli Rafn Sigurðsson

Vliff Lewis - Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson

Alison Porter - Aníta Breim

Helena Charles - María Birta