How does Priestley express ideas about Arthur Birling in 'An Inspector Calls'

Authors Avatar by Seanreeves1gmailcom (student)

How does Priestley present ideas about Arthur Birling in ‘An Inspector Calls’?

It is clear from the stage directions “the dining room…of a very large suburban home belonging to a prosperous manufacturer” shows how Mr. Birling is clearly very rich and materialistically successful. He is clearly symbolic of the ills of capitalism; somebody obsessed with personal wealth and takes no consideration of his responsibility to help wider society and why there is a need for socialist ideals. This play is a vehicle to promote Priestley’s views and Mr. Birling is clearly the selfish villain to symbolize capitalism to the reader.

Priestly also present Mr. Birling as very egotistical and somebody littered with arrogance. He is very quick to brag about his advantageous connections; bragging, “I might find my way into the next honors list” the use of language is highly ironic, the “honours list” is suppose to celebrate those that have committed to helping and serving Britain; while Mr. Birling has done anything but. This shows the hypocrisy of Mr. Birling’s attitudes; on one hand he is clearly very paranoid regarding the way others view him but simultaneously ignores and demonizes those below him in social status.

Join now!

There seems to also be no limit in Mr. Birling’s greed and pursuit of money; Priestly uses bathos to show how Mr. Birling demeans the importance of anything but money and personal gain.  Mr. Birling says when speaking of Sheila and Geralds engagement that this was “one of the happiest nights of [his] life’. Love and marriage would naturally bring happiness. But within a few lines he goes on to say how it means that Crofts and Birling’s LTD will benefit from the marriage, as they will be able to work together ‘for lower costs and higher prices’. The ...

This is a preview of the whole essay