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What Do We Learn About Each of the Characters on Stage in the Opening Stage Directions? How Might the Actors Show That the Characters Are ‘Pleased with Themselves’?

  • Date Submitted: 04/14/2016 10:04 AM
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Act One
1 What do we learn about each of the characters on stage in the opening stage directions? How might the actors show that the characters are ‘pleased with themselves’?

Arthur Burling: (The father and the householder of the story) Mr Birling is described as 'heavy looking'. This could suggest that he is a man that very much likes to be in charge, and when he gets the chance, in a symbolic way 'throws his weight around'; this is also done through the fancy display of wealth. This shows that he is respectful for those that are his social superiors and is little relaxed, but also shows much he wishes to be higher class.
The Birling's live in a 'fairly large home' which points to shows that the Birling's are rich and have some power, but may suggest that their greed for more is what controls them as characters. The way in which the relationship of Mr and Mrs Birling is described; ‘Mr Birling is sat at one end, his wife at the other’. This shows the distance and coldness in their relationship.
Sybil Briling: (Burling’s wife) Mrs Birling is introduced as 'a rather cold woman', which suggests she is not a loving mother. She is also described as 'her husband's social superior'. This also raises concerns about whether Birling actually married to gain a higher status through money than through a loving marriage-related relationship.
Sheila Birling: (Burling’s daughter/ Croft’s wife) Sheila Birling is described as a 'pretty girl in her early twenties'. This shows that although she has become a young woman by age, she is still thought of as a child by her parents.
Eric Brinling: (Burling’s son) Eric is introduced as 'Half shy and half assertive'. This seems a little contradictory as they are two qualities that are both features. This could point show that what is seen as being awkward embarrassed is actually a cover to show that he is hiding something from his family.
Geraid Croft: (Sheila’s husband) Gerald is described as an 'attractive chap about thirty' who...

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