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An Inspector Calls - Select one member of the Birling family - Write a character study to show how Priestly uses the character to convey his own opinions and attitudes.

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Introduction

*Select one member of the Birling family. Write a character study to show how Priestly uses the character to convey his own opinions and attitudes.*

        Priestly effectively conveys his attitude and opinions towards society via Mr. Birling, with the use of dramatic irony.

“An Inspector Calls” is set in 1912 but was written in 1945. Society at the time the play was set, was strictly divided into social classes and the majority of the wealth was in the hands of the minority of the population. Priestley was writing the play for a middle class audience and was trying to speak up for the working class by showing how the Birlings and Gerald Croft were all involved in making a young working class girl’s life a misery. Priestley wanted to show us that we have a responsibility to others to act fairly and without prejudice and that we do not live in isolation; Our actions affect others. We have to confront our mistakes and learn from them.

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Middle

        Birling’s first priority is to make money, “It’s my duty to keep labour cost down” and is also a social climber, and Sheila is engaged to the son of his “friendly” rival, which is why it could mean a lot to him in the business world because Gerald’s father is in a higher class than the Birling family. Sheila has a totally different attitude to Birling, and we see this emphasized as the play progresses. She is very happy with life at the beginning of the play, young, and attractive. Although later her happiness and love of her family are put to the test.

        In relation to the death of Eva Smith, Mr Birling tries to “make

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Conclusion

        Priestly makes Birling project the opposite views and opinions to his own; by making Arthur Birling such an ignorant and selfish character, the audience is prejudiced towards him, thinking that his opinions are pompus and arrogant. Therefore they tent to favour the attitudes of his children, Eric and Sheila, which are similar to Priestly's actual attitude. Without Mr. Birling's opinions and long-winded speeches, I don't believe the 'message' of the play would have been as effectively conveyed.

                                                Kristy Vinton 11L.

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