The Dramatic Importance of Arthur Burling's Speech in J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls
For my English coursework I shall write about the dramatic importance
of Arthur Burling's speech after dinner.
An Inspectors Calls was written by J.B Priestley in 1945 however it
was set in a pre-first world war setting (1912) in the fictional town
of Brumley. J.B priestly uses this difference of 33 years to create
dramatic importance as the audience would know about the outcomes of
historical events which the characters in the play had no knowledge
of. This allows Priestley to make the characters sometimes look quite
naive and silly especially Arthur Burling. The play is mainly about
how a rich upper middle class family are all made to confess about the
major parts they played in the events leading up to the suicide of a
lower class girl by a rather odd police inspector.
In the play Arthur burling can be viewed as a traditionalist who
preaches and practice the values of Edwardian Britain. He is a
prosperous business man who has worked very hard for his money, and is
very pleased with himself. He has also been active in local politics
and in the past has been the lord mayor of Brumley, however at present
Mr Burling is a magistrate.
The play starts with the Burling family celebrating Shelia Birling's
engagement to Gerald Croft. Mr Burling speaks on this happy occasion
about his daughter's engagement although he only touches upon the
topic of his daughter's future and happiness he seems more interested
in the business side of his daughter's engagement. This shows that he
is money orientated as he talks about his daughters future as though
it is a business deal between the Burlings and the Crofts. He talks
about how the marriage of his daughter with Gerald can bring their
friendly rivalry in business to an end and bring about lower costs and
higher price therefore increasing profit for both families.
"Your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time
"We may look forward to the day when Crofts and Birlings are no longer
competing but working together - for lower costs and higher prices"
This show dramatic importance to the audience who realise that Mr
Burling is more interested in his businesses future then his daughter
future. Even Mrs Burlings thinks that Arthur Burling should not talk
business at a occasion like this 'I don't think you ought to talk
business on an occasion like this'. Shiela also agrees with her mother
and finally Mr Burling agrees that he should not talk about business
at a happy occasion like this.
After being interrupted by his wife and daughter Mr Burling moves on
to the controversy surrounding the eventuality of the outbreak of war.
He seems very confident in his belief that there will be no war. This
creates dramatic irony...