How is Mr Birling Presented in Act 1?

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How Does Priestley Present the Character of Mr Birling in Act 1?

Priestly presents Arthur Birling as being obsessed with social status, extremely optimistic and proud of his achievements in Act 1.

In ‘Inspector Calls’ by J.B Priestly, Arthur Birling, husband of Sybil Birling and father to Eric and Sheila Birling, is shown to be a successful businessman ‘hard headed’ business man, he is the owner of Birling and Co. He has been active in local politics due to being an Alderman and was Lord Mayor of Brumley. Priestly described Arthur Birling as a, "heavy-looking, rather portentous man’ This suggests that his size helps give him a threating appearance. You can Also in the stage directions infer that the family is wealthy as Priestly states that the dining room belonged to a prosperous manufacturer. We also find out that Mr Birling’s wife is his social superior meaning that Mr Birling may have worked his way up from a lower class into a higher class, he also enjoys telling people of how wealthy he is this may be understandable due to him working his way all the way up into the class he is in now.

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At the very beginning of the play, Mr Birling is shown to be obsessed with his social status by Priestly, due to him stating that ‘You Ought to like this port Gerald, Finchley told me it’s exactly the same port your father gets from him’. This suggests that he knows that Gerald’s father is of a higher social status than him hence why he is showing off to Gerald about the port. In addition to this it shows that Mr Birling is aware of those with a higher social status that him. Another example of him being is obsessed ...

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