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Is Birling a Person we Should Admire?

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In this essay I will try to decide whether Arthur Birling is a person we should admire. To do this I need to study different points of his character and support these points with extracts from the playscipt. I will view both his admirable qualities and the sides of his character that I don't admire. I will consider the reasons behind his character and sum these up in my conclusion. On page 11 we learn that Birling has a very high standing in Brumley. He was an alderman for several years and was Lord Mayor for a time too. It is not surprising that Birling is in line for a knighthood. These achievements are not to be sneezed, at they are very admirable in my opinion. However, I don't like the way Birling attempts to abuse his influence and friendship with those in power. There is evidence of this on page 16 in the playscript, Birling hints at the inspector that if he causes him or his family any bother then the inspector might get into trouble with his chief because Birling is associated with him. This could be evidence that Birling has cheated his way to the top because if he doesn't hesitate at attempting to threaten an officer of the law he would have no trouble attempting to corrupt others, for example his rivals. ...read more.


As a father though it is understandable that Birling should do this, it is a natural fatherly instinct, as is evidence that he does really care for his children, I would be surprised if he didn't. I don't however accept the way he patronizes them and disregards their comments, particularly as usually they show him up. As a (younger) child I know that this is very frustrating and I find this behavior very unworthy. Birling is very concerned about social class, it is very important to him and although he isn't I think he likes to view himself as upper class. I say that he isn't upper class because there is evidence in the script that it's only an act (but this is a separate issue). It is his concern for social class that makes him very snobby towards the working class and those that don't necessarily agree with him (e.g. the inspector) There are a number of instances in the playscript where Birling comes out with very snobby but subtle remarks like when he was defending his decision not to give Eva Smith a raise he said "If you don't come down sharply on some of these people" (Page 15) and "The strike was broke after a week or two pitiful affair" all these comments and others he makes suggest the lower classes are inferior and uncivilized. ...read more.


But I care. I was almost certain for a knighthood in the next honours list." Once Gerald enters and they figure out that he was a hoax, Birling is back to his old self but then the bell rings. There are a number of factors we must consider which each of these points. We must consider the social belief at the time, it was set in about 1912 and society had different priorities and opinions back then. We have to consider Birling's achievements, before we slander his name we mustn't forget all that he has achieved, surely they show that he is at least half good. His upbringing may also play a part in his personality and also those that surround him (i.e. his upper class wife putting ideas into his head like the treatment of the lower class). It is difficult to brand anyone good or bad because most people have several different sides to their personality, one also has to be careful not to be hypocritical. However fictional characters and indeed real people would not appear real if they were all good or all bad. I think it is fair to say that Birling could try harder to be kinder to people and stop being so self - centred and snobby, and because I am finding these faults that could all be linked to his admirable qualities I conclude that I don't think we should admire Arthur Birling . ...read more.

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