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What do we learn about Birling in Act 1?Use Social and historical Context of the play to support your views The play 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945 just after the second world war

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Introduction

What do we learn about Birling in Act 1? Use Social and historical Context of the play to support your views The play 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945 just after the second world war by J.B Priestley, the play was set in 1912 before the war. He did this to show his negative views on Capitalist beliefs; he believed in looking out for the community and his social views to stop wars from occurring. The play is based in an Industrial city in the North Midlands. The main character is Birling who is a wealthy factory owner. His character is an extreme capitalist only believing in looking out for himself. In the stage directions you can pick up a lot of what Birling's character is like 'A few imposing but tasteless pictures on the walls' this shows that they are wealthy but will spend there money on showing off their wealth instead of making their house seem lived in. It also describes Birling as "Arthur Birling is 'rather portentous" giving us a n insight into how his character will be portrayed in the play to come. We get a very strong image that backs up our view on Birling being a Capitalist after his speech, 'A man has to make his own way in life' Birling is saying he made his own way and is setting an example for everyone else to do the same, and every thing will turn out fine for them. ...read more.

Middle

He then plays the title down by saying 'just a knighthood, of course'. By doing this it makes him seem less below the already knighted Sir George Croft indicating that they will be on a more equal footing when he achieves his title, he makes him self sound so important already that a knighthood is only something small and not very important to him as he already sees him self as being so big and powerful in his eyes. Alcohol is a huge part of Birling's life and a symbol of affluence. We find out a great deal about Birling and his obsessions with social status from the brief exchanges about port, at the beginning of the play. He tries to impress Gerald by informing him that it's the same port his father drinks and he obtains it from the same supplier, which underlines the fact that Birling discusses knowing Sir George Croft with others to exaggerate the fact that he knows influence people. The Inspector when interrogating Birling creates a dramatic image to exaggerate the fact that she is dead. Then later on he tries to show Birling and he has the same views and beliefs in these type of women to get Birling to talk 'like all of these women who get into various kinds of trouble' the Inspector asks Birling first before the other people in the family, because he considers him to be the head of the house. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was done to that Priestley could get his point across how to stop wars and fights from happening. In the time that the play was set it was a patriarchal society; Sheila shows this in the play after her mother questions where Gerald was the previous summer during the 1912 men were never questioned by women. This way of thinking would add to the self importance of Birling character as he would have expected to be looked up to by the rest of his family. The Inspector's role in this play is to show how one person can bring out all the Seven Deadly Sins in the characters which he is interviewing drawing a comparison to the original morality plays of the late middles ages but showing a much more modern view which the audiences of post war Britain would relate to. The contrast between Sheila and Eric, Birling's children with Birling himself shows that they are trying to be themselves not what Birling wants them to be. He criticises Sheila's choice of words when she describes Eric as 'squiffy' at the beginning of the play saying 'the things you girls pick up these days'. He then shows a difference between Eric and Birling when Eric says that he would not have sacked Eva Smith for asking for more money telling his son that he should learn a few more responsibilities. Birling clearly feels that there is a difference between his views and those of his son and daughter and Priestley shows this in these ways. ...read more.

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