An Inspector Calls

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade October 2001

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The first person we meet in the play is Mr Birling. He is a pompous man who is very ignorant and seems to think that if you don't share his opinions then you are wrong. For example when he says "˜Just let me finish, Eric. You've a lot to learn yet. And I'm talking as a hard-headed, practical man of business. And I say there isn't a chance of war. The world developing so fast that it'll make war impossible'. He is basically saying that he is right and if you contradict him then you don't know what you are talking about. Mr Birling is also very egotistic and feels that his status in the community is much more important than spending time to get to know his family. He gets very influenced by money, you know this because he thinks that Gerald is a good son in law because his father is a very wealthy factory owner, when most fathers would have looked for qualities such as loyal, kind and unselfish.

Mr Birling represents a capitalist, he is very prejudiced against people who are a lower class than him, he thinks he is above most people and tries to press some of the titles he has acquired upon people to try and influence and intimidate them.

We then meet Gerald, he is agreeing with everything Mr Birling is saying. Gerald is a polite young man you know this because he is always agreeing with Mr Birling and trying to make everyone happy. He obviously wants to be counted as one of the family because he says to Mrs Birling "˜In fact I insist upon being one of the family now. I've been trying long enough, haven't I' Towards the end of the play Gerald turns into a much more likeable character, he sees how wrong he has been and tells the truth completely which makes him a lot more respectable than Mr Birling who wouldn't admit he was wrong about anything.

Mrs Birling is one of the most infuriating characters because she is so proud of herself and thinks that she is allowed to do whatever she likes. she is also very prejudiced against people who are of a lower class than herself you know this because whenever they are talking about the girl who committed suicide she refers to her as "˜girls of that class' as if they are barely human and she shouldn't have to deal with them. Mrs Birling is also concerned about her status in society, you know this because she is a member of a women's charity but you know she doesn't really care about it.

Sheila is very different from everyone because although at first she was a spoilt little rich girl as soon as she heard about what this girl had done she didn't say "˜well it couldn't have been anything to do with me' she was very upset and said "˜oh how horrible'. You can tell she is a sympathetic character because she was very distressed to know that someone had been so unhappy that they felt that they had to end their life. At the end Sheila obviously doesn't think very much of her parents because they were adamant that it wasn't their fault but she knew that they were all very much responsible for the girls death. She also didn't try to blame anybody else she knew that she had played a role in this girls death and she knew that she has to change.

Eric is very quiet and rarely says anything agreeable, for example he contradicts his father when he was talking about the war and how there was not going to be one. He also resents his mother and father for not spending any time with him and not getting to know him, we know this because he said "˜you're not the kind of father a chap can go to when he's in trouble'. Eric is a heavy drinker but his parents do not know this which also proves how they don't spend enough time with him.

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