What methods does Priestley use to present selfishness in An Inspector Calls?

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Priestley criticises the selfishness of people like the Birlings. What methods does he use to present this selfishness?
Priestley presents the theme of selfishness in AIC throughout the play as it is an important part of expressing to the audience how society was in the past. He shows this idea in the Birling family along with Gerald who previously had made decisions which they didn’t care/understand how they damaged the lower class.

Selfishness is presented in multiple ways. Firstly Priestley talks to Mr Birling about how he fired Eva Smith from her job, just because she asked for higher pay. He explains that “it’s [his] duty to keep labour costs down” and “they could go and work somewhere else”. Through this text Priestley may be trying to show us how the society was driven by profit at the time and it didn’t make a difference to Birling if employees were discharged just to go and live on the street. This shows selfishness as Birling only cared about making a profit, he thought that increasing wages would lose him money; this led to the decision of denying a change and starting Eva’s journey which eventually led to her death. Even when the Inspector tells him this nearly two years later, Birling talks like this is none of his concern and just pretends that he is sorry. Another example of selfishness is when Birling describes himself as “a hard headed business man.” Priestley could be trying to show how all Birling cares about is business. The audience can see just how much the higher class were wealthy and selfish as they didn’t care about the working/lower class.

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Gerald, Mr and Mrs Birling all don’t accept their responsibility for what happened to Eva after the Inspector visits them. Gerald seems to feel emotional when he learns about Daisy’s death, exclaiming ‘In that case – as I’m rather more – upset – by this business…’ The use of the hyphens perhaps further express how he felt about her and he shows genuine sadness. However, at the end of the play, after deciding the Inspector was a hoax, he decides that he didn’t need to be emotional at all. He says to Sheila, ‘Everything’s all right now, Sheila. Now what ...

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