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The Role Of Arthur Birling In An Inspector Calls By J.B. Priestley

1852 words - 7 pages

The Role of Arthur Birling in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

I am going to investigate the role of Arthur Birling in the play “An
Inspector calls. Arthur Birling is the head of the family, he is rich
and bad-tempered. He doesn’t care about anyone unless they are making
him look good or richer. He is a very traditional man, and within his
family, he likes to believe that what he says goes.

Mr Birling is a pompous man in his mid fifties. At the beginning of
the play, Birling is in charge of everything. He is a public figure
and is obsessed with how things appear to people and maintaining the
high status he has within the community. The Birlings are a middle
class family. Sybil Birling is Arthur’s social superior. Arthur hopes
to get a Knighthood, he believes that he will due to all the work he
has done for the community. He was Lord Mayor for two years and he
still is a member of the bench. Mr Birling knows that Gerald’s family
believe him to be marrying below his social status so he tells Gerald
to drop hints to them about him gaining a Knight Hood in the hope it
will impress them. His biggest fear when the Inspector has left is
that he won’t get his Knighthood and that there will be a public
scandal, this would ruin his daughter’s marriage and, more importantly
his chances of his company and Gerald’s fathers merging.

Mr Birling is a prosperous factory owner. His first priority in life
is to make money. Even at the celebration of his daughter’s engagement
he manages to talk about business. He welcomes Gerald Croft into the
family as a business link between his own firm and Gerald’s fathers,
Crofts limited.

“You’re just the kind of son-in-law I always wanted. Your father and I
have been friendly business rivals for some time now – though Crofts
limited is both older and bigger than Birling and company – and now
you’ve brought us together, and perhaps we may look forward to a time
when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working
together – for lower costs and higher prices.”

From this statement alone you can see just how much Mr Birling’s life
revolves around money and power.

Birling strongly believes that “a man has to make his own way – has to
look after himself – and his family too, of course” This quote shows
just what is important to him and in the order of importance they are.
He believes he has to care for himself above all else, his family is
merely an afterthought. He does not, at any point, consider the harm
he might cause other people because of this attitude. He is confident
that his success is due to the fact that he is a “hard headed man of
business”. This means that when business is concerned his only worries
are that of how much money he is making and how much more money he can
make. He has no concern for the people’s lives he affects...

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