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What do we learn about Mr Arthur Birling's Character and attitude towards life as the play unfolds?

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What do we learn about Mr Arthur Birling's Character and attitude towards life as the play unfolds? When Arthur Birling is first introduced we are told he is "Heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties with fairly easy manners but rather provincial in his speech." As the play goes on we begin to understand why Birling is described like this. We also begin to develop our own ideas about him, his upbringing and his values. At the beginning of the play I thought that Birling was an established businessman but he also cared a lot about his family I didn't however think this towards the end of the play. When Birling did however start talking I did feel that he was self and money obsessed. I consider the core of Birling to be his political, social and moral opinions. He is involved in local politics "My husband was Lord Mayor only four years ago and he's still a magistrate." ...read more.


Birling blames Eric for the entire thing "You're the one I blame for this" he also shows no compassion and love for anything but money when he is dealing with Eric "Until every penny of that money is repaid you'll work for nothing." Birling feels he is not responsible for anything but himself and his money. Arthur Birling is an ambitious man with aspirations and goals. For instance he is often talking of his knighthood, and he seems very hopeful of a partnership being struck, between his company and that of Gerald's father. Despite this I do feel that he often acts extremely pompous and condescending. I imagine Birling feels very pleased with himself, he has earned his living, he has married into a "good" family, he is at the top of his career and near the top of the social system. As a result of this Birling tends to look down and patronize those of a lower social and economic status than himself. ...read more.


I consider this idea of "seeing" quite central to the characters of the older generation. "The ones I see some of your respectable friends with." Birling must know what his friends get up to in the palace bar, he chooses however not to see and he tells Eric to be quiet. He is so unwilling to see Eric for whom he really is that the audience sees Eric's role before he does. At the beginning of the play Birling was obsessed with nothing but money and his social status. At the end of the play Birling is much the same, he hasn't changed, he hasn't learnt anything "You don't seem to have learnt anything." He still supports social structure with created the injustice of Eva Smith's death. He still thinks in terms of money "Inspector I'd give Thousands, yes thousands." He cannot see why Eric and Sheila are so insistent that there is something to be learnt. Arthur Birling's conscience was inspected, however he is unrepentant and has not learnt anything. All he cares about is the social system; he couldn't care less about social morality. ...read more.

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