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Compare and Contrast the characters of Mr. Birling and Sheila - Mr. Arthur Birling and his daughter Sheila Birling are both characters in J.B. Priestly's 'An Inspector Calls'.

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Introduction

Rachel Nixon 9X Compare and Contrast the characters of Mr. Birling and Sheila Mr. Arthur Birling and his daughter Sheila Birling are both characters in J.B. Priestly's 'An Inspector Calls'. The characters differ a great deal in the play, but are also in some ways the same. 'Arthur Birling is a heavy-looking rather portentous man in his middle fifties with fairly easy manners but rather provincial in his speech.' This shows that he is like a wolf in sheep's clothing, as he considers himself as a well respected member of the upper-class community even though he talks in what could be classed as a colloquial way however the word provincial may refer to him having a regional accent. Mr. Arthur Birling is the successful factory owner of Birling and Company. Business means an awful lot to him, he is not aware that others value other things and cannot see why others do not consider business as importantly as he does, 'I'm talking as a hard-headed, practical man of business. ...read more.

Middle

Birling is not concerned with what he has and fairly frequently says what he thinks about people and countries 'There'll be peace and prosperity and rapid progress everywhere - except of course in Russia, which will always be behindhand naturally.' He thinks that he knows what is happening around the world and thinks he can predict the future 'Why, a friend of mine went over this new liner last week - the Titanic - she sails next week - forty-six thousand eight hundred tons - New York in five days - and every luxury - and unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable.' This creates irony for the audience, as they already know that the Titanic sank on her first voyage. This shows that he is optimistic and trusts technology because of the 'Rapid progress everywhere'. He is an Ex Lord-Major and is still very proud of his status as he does bring the matter into many of his conversations. He also brags about people he knows 'Perhaps I ought to explain first that this is Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sheila resents this and ends up telling her parents 'I'm not a child, don't forget. I've a right to know.' When Sheila was remembering the shop argument she shows a side to her that is vain and spiteful, this is put across by the way she says she couldn't feel sorry for Eva smith. Although later on in the play Sheila seems the most regretful out of her family and says that her along with her family should start behaving better towards others, even if they are of a lower class or status, and that they should learn from the mistakes which they made. The audience does most definitely not see Sheila as having the same cold-blooded attitudes as her parents. Sheila is probably the most honest person in her family, and admits guilt as soon as she is investigated instead of putting a wall up as her parents do. Sheila can be blunt 'You're squiffy' and she criticises the other characters in the play, especially her own father 'But these girls aren't cheap labour-they're people' Throughout the play Sheila seems to be her family's conscience. ...read more.

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