Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A middle class family named The Birlings Essay

An Inspector Calls, written by J. B. Priestley, is about a middle class family named The Birlings. The Birlings lived in an up and growing industrial town in the north midlands. Set in 1912, the Birlings were happily celebrating their daughter Sheila’s engagement to a respectable businessman, Gerald Croft. However, the modest celebration turned out to be more than eventful when an unexpected inspector arrives enquiring the suicide and death of a young girl names Eva Smith. Whilst doing so, the inspector unlocks a chain of family secrets along the way. The play, in its time, proved to be very popular, and still does so today. In this play, I think that J. B. Priestley chose the characters very well. I think that what made the play so appealing is the way in which he gave each character such a strong personality. Each member of the Birling family has a unique personality and throughout the play some of the Birling family change. I do think however, that the Birlings as a whole family are quite stereotypical. The Birlings come across as a family that have wealth and seem to be quite a respected family of a high class. At the beginning of the play, the Birling family seem to be quite a closely bonded family but throughout the play this bond seems to drift apart as they recognise their differences. The family consists of four very unique and exciting individuals: Arthur Birling- A very self-obsessed, wealthy business man, also very self-opinionated. The perfect example of an old snob. Obviously very proud of his achievements in life, but with his heart set on a knighthood which would be his ultimate achievement. Sybil Birling- Considers herself high in regard to social standings, largely on the back of her husbands’ success and wealth. Possibly a ‘Hyacinth Bucket’ of her time. A very unlikeable woman who sees lots of people as being beneath her. Sheila Birling- comes across as a very polite and obedient woman, looking forward to her engagement to Gerald Croft. However, as the play goes on, Sheila begins to realise the truth about herself and the Birling family, and begins to stand up against them. Eric Birling-Quite an enclosed person. Eric’s personality is hard to detect. He seems to be the outcast of the family, and the family do not discover until later on in the play that Eric is in fact a heavy drinker and was to father a illegitimate child. A typical wealthy young man of the day.

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