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Explore the Ways in Which Priestley Presents Mr. Birling in Act 1

  • Date Submitted: 10/30/2012 02:32 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.5 
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‘Explore the ways in which Priestley presents Mr Birling in Act One’
  J.B Priestley presents Arthur Birling as a self-obsessed, work oriented and “hard-headed business man” in Act One of “An Inspector Calls”. The stage directions used in the play by Priestley describe him as “heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties with fairly easy manners but rather provincial in his speech”, giving us the impression that Mr Birling looks rather threatening. Birling is very traditional and speaks formally, especially around his family. It is quite clear to us that he has worked his way up in the business world and is proud of his many achievements. We see that he has worked hard in order to raise himself up the social ladder and is proud to think that he’s going to receive a knighthood.
  Birling is aware of people who are his social superiors, which is the reason why he shows off about the port to Gerald in Act One, “it’s exactly the same port your father gets”, the gives us the impression that Birling is trying to be accepted by Gerald and his family as his parents, Lord and Lady Croft are already knighted. Even at his daughter, Sheila’s engagement party, Birling’s head is still wrapped around business, although he claims that the party is “one of the happiest nights of my life”. This is not only because his daughter is getting married and will be happy, but the main reason is because a merger with Crofts Limited will be good for Birling’s business as this is a big business opportunity for him, “Gerald, your engagement to Sheila means a tremendous lot to me. She’ll make you happy, and I’m sure you’ll make her happy. Your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time now- Crofts Limited are both older and bigger than Birling and Company- now you’ve brought us together, we may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working together”. This suggests that Birling is very work oriented and uses...

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