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How do the characters of Arthur and Sheila Birlng change during the course of the play 'An Inspector

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How do the characters of Arthur and Sheila Birlng change during the course of the play 'An Inspector Calls?' In this essay I will discuss how the characters of Arthur and Sheila Birling change during the course of the play 'An Inspector Calls'. This essay will explore the characters Arthur and Sheila Birling in depth looking at their development through the play. The essay will also describe how Arthur and Sheila Birling change from the beginning of the play to the end. The play 'An Inspector Calls' was set in 1912 but written in 1945 by JB Priestly. He uses the time difference effectively to give an overly confident and slightly stupid look to the Mr Birling in his views on the future. JB Priestly uses dramatic irony to show this with Birling's comments on: WW1, Mr Birling says "The Germans don't want war" but we all know that WW1 started two years later in 1914 and ended in 1918 with the Germans losing. Mr Birling thought the Titanic was "absolutely unsinkable", but it wasn't, it hit an iceberg and sank in the north pacific in April 1912. ...read more.


Sheila uses slang language, "you're squiffy", and she uses that expression to tell her brother Eric he is drunk. She is also apologetic and is very truthful and says what she thinks "I'm really responsible". Sheila gives a first impression of being a rather spoilt "young thing", childish, always wanting to be the centre of attention and deeply in love with Gerald, "I drink to you, Gerald". Sheila Birling got Eva Smith sacked from her next job at clothes shop Milwards, Sheila was in a terrible mood and when she was trying on a dress, Eva smiled at her "as to say doesn't she look awful", which Sheila did not like; She went to the manager of the shop and said Eva was being impertinent, and that if Eva wasn't sacked, she would close her family's account. Eva was automatically sacked. Arthur Birling develops through the play from being cheerful at the beginning, in celebration of Sheila's marriage to Gerald, then more rude and impatient as the inspector starts questioning him. After the inspector is deemed a fake he goes back to being normal, big headed and arrogant. ...read more.


I think Priestly is trying to say that the older generation before the wars were selfish and self-centered, but he wants people to be more sociable and friendly to one and other and become one community, like during the war where everybody had to pull together otherwise they would die. Also it is mainly the upper class being horrible to the lower class and he wants them to all be one class. In conclusion I think that the character of Arthur Birling has changed from the dinner party scene at the beginning where he was very nice, but he changed into the normal grumpy, self-centered, business orientated and pompous man he is. He also shows us what upper class people were like, being selfish. On the other hand, Sheila Birling changed for the better, being helpful, nice and kind to the lower class citizens, because she knows what she had done with Eva Smith had been wrong. Finally I think JB Priestly clearly must have felt that it was important to convey the message of how poorly the lower class were treated by the upper class, and how he wanted them all to be equal. Adrian Waller 10P ...read more.

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