What clues in Act 1 tell you that there is trouble ahead for the Birling family?

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J.B Priestley's morality play, set in 1912, analyses the moral crimes committed by the Birling family and Gerald Croft against a worker, Eva Smith. In Act 1, inspecting closely, it is evident there is trouble ahead for the Birlings from many actions from the characters, mostly Arthur Birling through irony.

Birling, clearly in Act 1 says, “Why a friend of mine went over this new lined this week- the Titanic - she sails next week… unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable.” Priestley’s adoration for dramatic irony is clearly shown as we all know that the Titanic sinks by hitting an iceberg. This symbolizes the jeopardy of capitalistic stubbornness that Birling shows and his ideas and notions will ultimately crumble under the Inspector’s inquiry.

Again dramatic irony bites when Gerald laugh and says, “You seem to be a well behaved family-” which Mr Birling replies with, “We think we are-” Knowing that the Birlings have been anything but nice considering their unjust full actions towards Eva Smith, will soon be exposed. They're too comfortable and their secrets of their refusal to bother will be uncovered by the Inspector. However, the connection between Gerald and Birling grow as the book progresses and we finally realise that his similar capitalist views hasn't been affected or even slightly altered by the end of Act 3, leaving him unchanged.

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One of the most memorable moment in Act 1 is when Mr Birling boasts about his attempt to get a knighthood and that he's in the Honour’s List. He says, “...there is a fair chance that I might find my way into the Honour's List. just a knighthood of course.. So long as we behave ourselves, don't get into the police court or start a scandal...” This is also ironic as what he feared comes true when Eric confess to his involvement with Eva and Gerald’s affair. He is too comfortable and therefore this is the calm before the ...

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