Essay On The Birling Family In An Inspector Calls

800 Words4 Pages
“An Inspector Calls” is a play written by the social commentator, J.B. Priestley, speculating the morality of the class system back in 1945 and dramatizes it by setting it in 1912, just before the First World War. Priestly focuses on one family and their involvement in the death of a young girl, to outline the importance of social responsibility and flaws of the upper class. The Birling family is introduced in the first act as the curtain opens. We are told that the head of the family is Arthur Birling who is a manufacturer. His wife, Sybil is a socialite and appears to be a rather "cold" woman. Then, they have two children, Sheila, their beautiful daughter, and Eric, their shy son. Lastly, they have a guest with them, who is Sheila 's fiancé, Gerald Croft, who is the heir to a business fortune. Although the family may appear to be happy, jovial and functioning, throughout Act One Priestly implies that there is trouble brewing under the surface, and is very close to erupting. The contrast at the beginning, when Priestly is outlining the stage setting, “heavily comfortable... not cozy”. This emphasizes the fact how everything is materialistic, and only for show, nothing they own hold any personal values, which could imply the relationships between Mr. and Ms. Birling and Sheila and Gerald, are only for show and are being used…show more content…
This presented when Gerald chose and bought the engagement ring for Sheila, without her opinion. Shelia just accepts this and doesn’t seem to question his decision, “is this the one you wanted me to have?”, this shows her willingness to be controlled. As well as this the reader finds out that Gerald did not come near Sheila all summer, suggesting an affair, which Sheila suspects him of. Gerald’s lack of honesty and his commanding nature foreshadow the inevitable end of their
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