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Character Study of Mr Birling

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Character Study of Mr Birling Mr Birling is a prosperous factory owner, not the social equal of his wife. He is "a self made man." His first priority is to make money "its my duty to keep labour costs down." Mr. Birling is welcoming Gerald Croft into his family and he represents a business link between his firm and that of Gerald Croft's father, who is a rival business man. Mr. Birling is trying to make out that he is a friend now, not a competitor of the Croft's. He hints this when he says, "you ought to like this port Gerald. As a matter of a fact, Finchley told me it's exactly the same port your father gets from him." This suggests that he thinks he knows Gerald's Family. Mr. ...read more.


He is optimistic about the future, yet we know that what he predicts will not become true, things such as war he says, "just because the Kaiser makes a speech or two, or a few German officers,have had too much too drink and begin talking nonsense, you'll hear some people say that wars inevitable. And to that I say-fiddlesticks! The Germans don't want war." He also says "And I say there isn't a chance of war". Then he goes on to talk about 'The Titanic' he says, "the titanic, sails next week-forty-six thousand tons- New York in five days-and every luxury-unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable."(dramatic irony), JB. Priestly really makes Birling sound stupid in this part of the play. Birling refuses to accept any responsibility for Eva 's death. He becomes increasing annoyed by the Inspector's questioning and Eric's unsympathetic attitude. ...read more.


Birling represents a very unattractive sort of person. At the end of the play he grudgingly wishes things were better but even here he still thinks that money is always the answer, "Look inspector - I'd give thousands yes thousands". He continues to ignore the shameful things that his family has done. When it appears that the Inspector might be a Fake 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 hate towards businessmen who are only interested in making money. He will never alter his ways and it is left to the younger generation to learn from their mistakes. ...read more.

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