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

What is the importance of Mr. Arthur Birling as a character in the play in the play An Inspector Calls?

Extracts from this document...


An Inspector Calls Act 1 1. When is the play set? In 1912. 1. Who is a ?heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties?? Arthur Birling. 1. Who is ?not quite at ease, half-shy, half-assertive?? Eric Birling. 1. Who is ?very pleased with life?? Sheila Birling. 1. Who is ?very much the easy well-bred young man-about-town?? Gerald Croft. Act 2 1. What does Sheila give to Gerald before he leaves? Her engagement ring. 1. Who says this and to whom? ?I feel you?re beginning all wrong?. Sheila says this to Mrs Birling. 1. Who says this and to whom? ?I never take offence?. Inspector says this to Mrs Birling. 1. Who condemns whom here? ?I think it was cruel and vile?. Sheila condemns her mother Mrs Birling here. 1. In what 3 ways does Gerald described Daisy when he first meets her that made her look ?totally out of place? at the Palace Bar? Young and fresh and charming. Act 3 1. What is the mood in the dining room at the start of this act and why? The mood is to be light, playful and happy. ...read more.


The deliberate way that JB Priestley makes Mr Birling reel out mistake after mistake is building an idea of an arrogant, middle class man who could easily represent a lot of the society that Priestley was living in at the time. A normal detective story can often build up a character showing him/her to be arrogant and pompous like Mr Birling, but it is the specific incidents that he mentions that is the first indicator that this play is more than a petty mystery. Birling proudly boasts that his friend will travel on the "absolutely unsinkable" Titanic, that he knows for a fact that "there isn't a chance of war" and that in the near future there will be "peace and prosperity ... everywhere." Of course Mr Birling could not have been more wrong, within two years after his futuristic speech the most devastating war ever broke out affecting the whole world and the indestructible Titanic sank to its death in the Atlantic along with the majority of its passengers. Of course, as the play was written and shown in 1945 all of this would be clear to the audience. ...read more.


He mentions to Gerald how he can see that Lady Croft thinks he can do better, and is anxious to impress with the mention of a knighthood. He also seems to be trying to show himself as upper class in the fact that he even buys the same port as Sir George Croft. The first part of act one and the happiness of Mr Birling is concluded with his speech to Gerald and Eric, ?a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own?. The happy atmosphere of the beginning of the play comes to an abrupt stop with the arrival of the inspector. Mr Birling sees nothing special about this visit at first, and expects the inspector to behave according to the rules of his own society. He tries to win the inspector to his side in this way by offering him port and trying to intimidate him with talk of having been a mayor, playing golf with the Chief constable and introducing Gerald as of Crofts Limited. The fact that Mr Birling lives in this world of business and upper class rules mean that he soon begins to dislike the inspector when he refuses to abide, or even care for these rules. By Zarin Tasneem 9x3 ...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. ''An Inspector Calls' has been described as a play of social criticism - What ...

    John Priestly was born on 13th of September 1894. He grew up in a family and a wider group of friends who were very keen on enjoying the arts. As he grew up he began to have in-depth debates with these friends.

  2. "An Inspector Calls" - issues raised in the play concerning the social structure ...

    This is an unusual thing to say when celebrating your engagement and even when Gerald defends himself Sheila simply replies with a sarcastic, 'That's what you say'; and it is left to Mrs. Birling to end this exchange with a light hearted remark of, 'Now, Sheila, don't tease him'.

  1. Closely examine the character of Mr Arthur Birling and his daughter Sheila Birling showing ...

    he suggests that to get anywhere in life, people should care about themselves only and not care about others. In opposite to this, socialists say that life only goes on with people helping each other. This shows that Birling has very selfish motives.

  2. Write a letter from the director to the actor playing a character you have ...

    when he arrives unexpectedly as the Birling family are sitting in their home having a meal. Their house would not be cosy as there is not much warmth within the family, but there should be some change within the light and atmosphere of the room when the inspector arrives.

  1. How does Sheila's character develop during the course of the play?

    She says, "Oh, how terrible" - In an interested way she asks, "Was it an accident?" It is obvious the news has upset Sheila, because the stage directions in front of what she says are "rather distressed". This shows that she is sensitive, as at that point she doesn't even realize she knows this girl.

  2. Discuss the Importance of the Inspector 'Goole' in this play:

    This shows the Birlings are thinking they are untouchable, too classy and too Important for anyone else in their time. Then shortly after his speech, the titanic sank. This shows things that are said to be 'classy' and 'expensive' don't always turn out to be reliable and secure.

  1. Imagine you have been asked to direct J.B. Priestley's "An Inspector Calls". What Instructions ...

    point to be magnified and the manor in which he says these words exaggerated. I would have Mr Birling looking quite offended and the tone of voice is one of surprise. He however knows that he is in charge, so should not worry about his image.

  2. Write about the character of Mr Birling and his importance to the play.

    However, the Inspector is not concerned at all by these names, which seriously affects the attitude and behaviour of Mr Birling. He gets angrier and angrier at the Inspector, calling him ?officious? and threatening to report him. There is a definite clash of authority and beliefs between the two men,

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