• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far do you think the Inspector's dealings with the Birling family affect each character's view of themselves and their position in society?

Extracts from this document...


How far do you think the Inspector's dealings with the Birling family affect each character's view of themselves and their position in society? 'An Inspector Calls' by J.B. Priestley is set in an industrial city, Brymley in 1912, just before the First World War. The Inspector's dealings with the Birling family cause some of the characters in the play to re-evaluate their position in society, whilst others remain unaffected. J.B.Priestley criticises middle class oppression of the working class by showing how the Birlings and Gerald Croft are involved in making a young working class girl's life a misery. Act one begins by introducing the characters and presents a seemingly happy united family looking forward to the future with a degree of confidence. Arthur Birling is having an enjoyable celebration where he produces many speeches and predictions. Mr Birling opens the play with "You ought to like this port, Gerald. As a matter of fact, Finchley told me it's exactly the same port your father gets from him." Birling's first line of dialogue, shows him trying to impress Gerald, as Gerald's father is of a higher class than the Birling family and also to climb the social ladder. He views himself as a man of a high class and uses manipulation to get to the top. ...read more.


Sheila is emotionally affected by the Inspector and she has a moral conscience, "I feel rotten at the time and now I feel a lot worse." Shelia is very distressed by the girl's suicide and thinks that her father's behaviour was unacceptable. She readily agrees that she behaved very badly and insists that she never meant the girl any harm when she abused her power and status. She is prepared to admit her faults. It is clear that the Inspector has had a dramatic effect on Sheila who is determined to change the way she acts in the future as she says, "I'll never do it again." She now acknowledges of her responsibilities to others in society. Her readiness to learn from experience greatly contrasts to her parents, "but these girls aren't cheap labour-they're people." She is unable to accept her parent's attitude and is both amazed and concerned that they have not learnt anything from the dealings with the Inspector. Gerald is present throughout Sheila and Birling's confession and he believes he has no part to play, until he hears the name "Daisy Renton" Gerald's view of himself in society is that he is of the, "absolute first class," Gerald does have genuine feelings for Daisy However he allows the class difference to prevent him taking the affair any further. ...read more.


Mrs Birling like both Mr Birling and Mr Croft do not accept responsibility for their actions because they believe they have not done anything wrong. The desire to remain unaffected about the events is clear. The tension remains as the two generations (younger and older) confirm the differences as suggested by the Inspector. Sheila is disgusted at the way her mother, father and ex-fianc� are happy to forget all as the Inspector is soon find to be a fraud, "so nothing really happened, so there's nothing to be sorry for, nothing to earn. We can all go on behaving just as we did. Eric is the only other who has been affected by the Inspector like Sheila, they are the younger generation and are both sorry for their faults, and are very likely to change their view of themselves thereby reducing the divide between lower and upper class people, as they realise how the both abused their position in society. Mr Birling and Mr Croft represent Priestley's criticism for businessmen who are only interested in making money and social climbing. Mr and Mrs Birling and Croft will never alter their ways even after the Inspector has exposed their true natures. However Priestley does convey a sense of hope for the younger generation who learn from their mistakes and challenge society's class divide because of the Inspectors dealings. Katarina Stead English Essay 11B ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. To what extent is each character responsible for Eva's death?To what extent does each ...

    Mrs Birling feels there is nothing more to be done with the situation and thinks everything is going to be okay after the night is over, she thinks everything was a hoax, and with everything that has happened she mocks her children.

  2. Consider the ways in which Priestley's portrayal of Inspector Goole an the way in ...

    Unless Eric's been up to something. And that would be awkward, wouldn't it?'. Priestley describes the Inspector as 'need not being a big man but he creates an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness' this symbolises that he is an important figure in the play and not someone to be messed with.

  1. How does the Inspectors Visit Affect two Characters in the Play?

    Arthur Birling is very talkative and deceitful, because as he is aware of his social superiors, he shows off to Gerald about the port, "It's exactly the same port your father gets". As he welcomes Croft into his family, it represents a business link between his firm and a that

  2. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley - To what extent is each character responsible ...

    This proves that Eva is impulsive. She was shocked that her tantrum had a played a part in ending the life of Eva Smith. "(Staring at him agitated)..." Sheila was shocked; the stage direction written show that she was shocked when she realised what was happening when the she had

  1. To what extent is each character responsible for Eva's death? To what extent does ...

    was too concerned about keeping the story quiet to protect his position in society and his knighthood. Mr Birling's attitude that "A man has to make his own way - has to look after himself - and his family too".

  2. How far do you think each character is responsible for Eva Smith’s suicide and ...

    Eh, Inspector?' He uses a question `Eh, Inspector?' as he is looking for collusion with the Inspector. He also uses the question to try and take control, which we find out does not work and the Inspector remains in control. He wants him to agree so he will not feel as guilty, or he may actually believe he

  1. Which character do you think feels most responsible for Eva's death

    Mr.Birling starts to get rather angry ' I told the girl to clear out and she went, he is showing no remorse for this girl's suicide and still feels he is not to blame. Sheila then enters the room and is curious to see what is going on and find

  2. Write an essay discussing the character of the inspector, his method of discovering the ...

    In fact he also claims that he has her diary, in which he gathered events that happened in her life. As soon as the Inspector enters the Birling household, he darkens the mood of the intimate and jolly engagement party, and dampens the atmosphere with his sincerity.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work