How does Priestley present Mrs Birling in An Inspector Calls? (End of play…
How does Priestley present Mrs Birling in An Inspector Calls?
Start of play
Proud of her social status
Has traditional values and follows the rules of etiquette
Strong set of beliefs about people's social status makes her prejudiced
Mr Birling's social superior
Lives by strict standards
Thinks that Mr Birling's labour workers are of a lower class
Relationship with Inspector
Strong and powerful
'You have no power to make me change my mind'
Describes the Inspector as a 'trifle impertinent'
Does not like the Inspector and does not agree to his demands
Relationship with Eva Smith
Involved in the Brumley Women's Charity Organisation
Helps people in 'deserving cases' giving her the authority to decide who is deserving and who is not
Uses her social status to convince the other members of the board to reject Eva's appeal because she is offended by the young woman using the Birling name
Outraged that Eva would pretend to have the 'fine feelings' of a higher social class but Mrs Birling is unfeeling towards the women who make appeals to her.
Takes no responsibility for Eva's death
End of play
Does not change
Hasn't noticed her own son's alcoholism
Dismisses her daughter's worries that Gerald lost interest last summer
Will not accept responsibility for her actions
Claims she did the right thing
'I accept no blame for it all'
Does not learn from the Inspector's message, only regrets not asking the Inspector a few questions
Wants to be in control