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A Character Study of Arthur Birling in An InspectorCalls.

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A Character Study of Arthur Birling in An Inspector Calls Arthur Birling is the man and leader of the Birling household. He has a wife Sybil and a son called Eric. He also has a daughter called Sheila. Edna (the maid) and the family live in Brumley, which at the time was an industrial city. The household live in a large suburban house and in 1912 they would be regarded as well off upper class citizens. Arthur is a respectable and experienced man in his mid-fifties who likes to speak his mind about things. He has many specific views on society and an outlook on life. He believes that 'a man has to make his own way' and look after himself. Arthur Birling can be stubborn and has his views on the business he is managing. He refuses to accept any responsibility for the death of Eva Smith even when Inspector Goole shows him the evidence. Mr Birling's workers are paid the going rate in the factory and he is determined to protect his own interests. His attitude towards 'trouble makers' is unsympathetic and he feels nothing for the young woman. ...read more.


G. Wellses do all the talking. We hardheaded practical businessmen must say something sometime'. He represents a very unattractive sort of person and even tries to threaten the Inspector by talking about his friendship with the Chief Constable. At the end of the play he grudgingly wishes things were better but even here he still thinks in terms of money 'Look, Inspector - I'd give thousands'. I think that Arthur Birling believes that he can solve most situations with money. In the middle of Act One Arthur explains to Eric about war. There is irony in what he says. He explains that there is no chance of war but in fact the First World War was to begin in a couple of years. When talking he says that the world is developing so quickly that 'It'll make war impossible'. He mentions that the new ocean liner, the Titanic, would be unsinkable but it sank on it's maiden voyage. This shows that he is a man who is very confident in his views, but not always right. Mr Birling has little imagination and seems totally blind towards the consequences of his actions and to the events which would follow. ...read more.


He is scared that 'There'll be a public scandal'. Arthur Birling continues to ignore the shameful things that his family has done. When it appears that the Inspector might be a hoaxer he is happy to believe that everything is as it was a few hours ago. He copies the Inspector and laughs when he remembers the faces of Eric and Sheila and accuses them of being 'the famous younger generation who know it all'. This is an example of pride coming before a fall, a moment later of course he is panicking as the phone rings again. Mr Birling represents Priestley's hatred of businessmen who are only interested in making money. He believed that Birling would never alter his ways and it would be left to the younger generation to learn from their mistakes. The inspector holds the whole family responsible for Eva's death, but I think he believes that Arthur was the guiltiest. He says, 'You made her pay a heavy price.. and now she'll make you pay a heavier price still'. Each person contributed to Eva's fate and has to share the guilt, but Arthur's actions in sacking her started the chain of events. I think that Arthur was the guiltiest due to his reckless and heartless sacking of the young woman. Finbar Jarrett ...read more.

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