The Student Room Group

Mr Birling

Hello, can somebody mark this essay and give me a grade and a score out of 40, Thank you!
Mr Birling is presented as an unlikeable character. In this extract he’s found to have not changed, with his narrow-mind and his lack of empathy towards others. Mr Birling constantly refers to a man having to fend for himself and he believes he’s superior to everybody even his family, this is shown when he says ‘— the famous younger generation who know it all. And they can’t even take a joke’ Priestley uses dramatic irony as it shows Sheila and Eric have learnt a lesson where as Mr Birling hasn’t and still has his idiotic views. He uses sarcasm when he says ‘they can’t even take a joke’ which emphasis that Mr Birling is mocking the younger generation to be weaker and more liberal to try and get Eric and Sheila to change their new found socialist views. The verb ‘joke’ infers his inability to take accountable for his partial responsibility for Eva’s death. This links to his capitalist views which suggest he only thinks about himself and isn’t willing to change and Priestley made him unlikeable as he was a socialist whom strongly disagreed with capitalist views.
In the wider play, Priestley presents Mr Birling as an arrogant character as he’s very status conscious and believes the upper class are superior to the working class this is shown when he says ‘All mixed up together like bees in a hive.’ Priestley uses a simile to imply Mr Birling thinks that socialists are like mindless animals and he’s strongly against the idea of collective responsibility in socialism, he believes that we are responsible for ourselves rather than anybody around us. Mr Birling doesn’t believe in the value of a ‘community’ and calls it ‘nonsense’. The verb ‘mixed up’ suggests that he believes different classes should not mix to reinforce his idea of looking after yourself. This links to the increased sense of community which developed in WW2 which made socialism more popular. And shortly after the play was performed a Labour Government was voted into power in 1946.
Furthermore, Mr Birling is presented as an obnoxious character this is shown in the extract as the younger generation learn their lesson but Mr Birling however doesn’t, he is exploitative towards the younger generation as he’s oblivious to his own children, this refers to when he says [heartily]: Nonsense! You’ll have a good laugh over it yet.’ Priestley uses foreshadowing of Mr Birling at the end of the play where he stares ‘guilty.’ Once Mr Birling found out it was a hoax, he’s able to put everything behind him and he only wishes to contain his status as he’s self-absorbed he then believes that the younger generation will be able to laugh it off like he has which reflects the change of Sheila and Eric throughout. The adverb ‘heartily’ suggests that Mr Birling does show emotions, which have been absent throughout the entire-play as he’s only been entirely concerned with self-preservation. This links to the inequality that existed between upper class and lower class as they were often looked down upon the working-class in post war Britain.
Mr Birling is presented as an idiotic character as he’s constantly proven to be wrong throughout the play which is also shown by the interruptions of his speeches when he says ‘The titanic. unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable.’ Priestly uses dramatic irony as the audience in 1946 knew the titanic had already sunk which ridicules Mr Birlings views and beliefs and his reputation makes him sound more confident as he believes hes above everybody else. The sibilance of ‘unsinkable’ emphasises the foreshadowing how Mr Birling will slowly disintegrate in his position of power because he will be weakened by socialism. This links to his capitalist ideologies as Priestley was a socialist and strongly disagreed with capitalist views so he used Mr Birling to ridicule the idea of capitalism as he intended for Mr Birling’s views to sink just as the titanic was destined to sink.
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