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Is Mrs Birling Wholly dislikeable? An Inspector calls.

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Is Mrs Birling Wholly dislikeable? Throughout the course of the play, we see Mrs Birling's attitude in many ways, however she remains a cold woman, the main reason that she is so dislikeable. She has many unusual qualities, which show the way in which she has been brought up, in a way in which she considers normal for anyone of her class. The play begins... and we are introduced to Mrs Birling's character immediately, some of her first words in the play consisted of disciplining her husband's behaviour, after he has complemented the chief for the meal. " Arthur, you're not supposed to say such things-" This indicates, that from her background, she has been raised to never compliment the servants of the house. One can immediately assume that she has had a strict and harsh upbringing which has shaped her personality in ways. This behaviour is repeated moments later when Sybil lectures her daughter on the responsibilities of a good wife. " When you're married you'll realize that men with important work to do sometimes have to spend nearly all their time and energy on their business. You'll have to get used to that, just as I did." Similarly, when Sheila talks to Eric, and accuses him of being 'squiffy', her immediate reply is, "Really, the things these you girls pick up these days!" ...read more.


She is a very confident women, mostly due to her status. The first time that this confidence is shaken is when Mrs Birling discovers some of the secrets of the family. She becomes 'staggered' on the discovery of Eric's drinking habit, and refuses to believe the information that she is told. The fact that she refuses to believe the secrets of her children, shows that she does think of them as children and not as adults, possibly as children are more innocent, which leaves us to wonder if she brought up in a similar fashion. After finding the news of Eric, she replies, "It isn't true. You know him Gerald - and you're a man - you must know it isn't true." There is a similar reaction from Mrs Birling when she finds that Gerald Croft was also associated with the girl Daisy Renton who committed suicide. When Gerald begins to talk of his association with the girl, Mrs Birling still refuses to believe, and continually asks questions, such as " Women of the town? ... Don't talk nonsense Sheila... There's no need to be disgusting, surely you don't mean Alderman Meggarty?... I don't think we want any further details of this disgusting affair - " Throughout the play there is a constant reminder of Mrs Birling's approach to her siblings. ...read more.


The first signs of concern and distress shown by Mrs Birling is when she is told that Eric has stolen money, and only when faced with the realisation that her actions have led to the death of her grandchild does Mrs Birling actually break down and it is suggested that she leaves the room crying. Throughout the play this is the greatest level of emotion shown by Sybil Birling. However when she returns and Eric lunges at her, she become very distressed on stage. As I have mentioned many times before, Mrs Birling treats her son like a child, and she is faced with this harsh reality when Eric shouts at her; " You don't understand anything. You never did. You never even tried - " This is the only point in the play in which we can realise that maybe Mrs Birling is not wholly unlikeable, and that there is a small possibility that she is not aware her cruel behaviour to others. Overall, Mrs Birling appears to be a very cold and unappreciative woman, who is aware of her social class and others around her and uses this power to affect others. She is able to treat people how she wants, illustrated by the immature attitude she has with her children. On the whole, I believe it is this that has made Mrs Birling the dislikeable person she is, but we are left with the idea that she is unaware of how cruel she can be, which leads me to conclude that Mrs Birling is not wholly dislikeable. ...read more.

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