How does Priestley present Mr Birling in An Inspector Calls? (Relationship…
How does Priestley present Mr Birling in An Inspector Calls?
Start of play
Pompous, overconfident, possibly arrogant
Attaches considerable inmportance to his image over anything else
Pleased with Sheila's engagement to Gerald only as he is of a higher social standing than Sheila is and it will raise the social class of Sheila's family
Discusses with Gerald how he might get on to the next Honours list as long as Gerald and everyone else behave themselves
Overconfident as he claims that Gerald and Sheila will be marrying at a very good time and that there is no chance of war. He also describes the Titanic as 'unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable'.
Thinks that he is the best and that there is a good chance of him getting into the next Honours list
Relationship with Inspector
Inspector makes a nasty mess of Gerald and Sheila's engagement dinner
Does not like the Inspector's tone
Describes the Inspector's language as uncalled for and officious
Has half a mind to report the Inspector
Knows very well that no inspector speaks in the same way Inspector Goole did to him
Was keen to have it confirmed that Mr Goole was, in fact, actually a fake inspector and that he has been had
Inspector thinks that Mr Birling is the main person responsible for Eva's death, saying 'You started it' to him.
Relationship with Eva Smith
Will not accept responsibility for the death of Eva Smith
Finds it difficult to think about other people
Does not believe in 'community and all that nonsense'
Sees workers like Eva Smith as 'cheap labour'
Does not just refuse higher wages for his workers but actively makes things worse for them, personally firing the ringleaders of the strike.
Selfish and self centered
Rather pass of the Inspector's visit as a 'hoax' or a joke than face up to what he's done
End of play
Stuck in his ways
Is still the same capitalist he was at the beginning of the play
Does not accept responsibility for any of the actions they had done that led towards Eva Smith's so-called 'murder'
Has not become a better person or a full-blast socialist as a result of the sudo-inspector's visit
Only interested to find out whether the Inspector was actually a real Inspector or whether he might have just been a fake inspector (he was a fake)
Also rings up Infirmary to see if anyone died. No one had at the time of calling.
Shocked to find that at the end of the play a telephone call from the police to say a girl has died in the Infirmary and a real police inspector is coming over to ask some questions.