Mr Birlings egotistical and sonorous nature springs from feelings of social superiority and his character is central to an understanding of the play.
His character symbolises everything that Priestly believes is wrong with the Edwardian rulling class: their lack of social responsibility, their hypocricy and desensitized nature.
Having been left off stage with Gerald after the celebratory dinner, Mr Birling, ignorant to his, self absorbed temprement, proclaims that he expects a knighthood. Mr Birling and Gerald subsequently joke that this is provided that the Birlings don’t ‘start a scandal’ and Gerald even goes to as far as joking that Eric may have been up to something ‘fishy.’ These comments alert the audience to the likelihood of a scandal and illustrate Priestleys use of irony and also link to wider themes in the play such as hypocracy and social responsibility. For example, Mr Birling is happy to accept a knighthood from the community but dismisses his responsibility to the community, revealing his hypcracy. Through this dialogue alone, Priestley shows us how ambitious Mr Birling is to gain social status along with his strong capitalist views. He sees Sheilas marriage to Gerald as the beginning of a powerful business empire.
Priestley presents a juxtaposition between the Inspector (A vector of Priestley and all things socialist) and Mr Birling (an embodiment of capitalism) to emphasise the immaturity and incomprehension of the upper classes. When the inspector enters, the stage directions tell us he creates ‘an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefully’. Priestley is showing that the inspector will almost certainly impact future events. He ‘has a disconcerting habit of looking hard’ at somebody before speaking to them, he takes his time and even interrups Mr Birling ‘cutting through’ his dialogue. Through Priestley using the inspector to outline the idea of a ‘chain of events’ leading to Eva Smiths death he creates a mastery and dominance particularly when Mr Birling unwittingly invites the inspector to reveal the next link in the chain when he asks ‘What happened next?’. In contrast, Mr Birling adopts a condescending manner towards the inspector and shows an increasing ‘impatience’. The difference between the two is the inspectors determination to pursue justice for Eva Smith, and Mr Birlings determination to ‘keep labour costs down’ at the costly expense of his work force; arguably an expense which cost Eva Smith her life. During the Edwardian times, a comprehension of the exploitation towards the working class was growing. In the same year that Mr Birling’s factory workers were striking for an increase in pay, Philip Snowdan published a book called The Living Wage.
I would really appreciate if somebody could mark and give me some feedback on my inspector calls essay. I had a bit of support from my York notes. Thank you so much in advance.
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Mark my English Lit Essay (an inspector calls) watch
- Thread Starter
- 19-02-2018 20:23
- 19-02-2018 21:35
- 19-02-2018 21:40
6, good intro and use of language device, you applied a counter balance argument which is great. Include a few more quotes and link to context is important.