Explore how Priestly creates like or dislike of Mrs Birling

Topics: Working class, Social class, Sociology Pages: 3 (1666 words) Published: November 23, 2014
Explore how Priestly creates like or dislike of Mrs Birling ‘An Inspector Calls’ is a well-known play which was written by J.B. Priestly in 1945. However it was set in a Midland Industrial town in 1912. Priestley deliberately set his play in 1912 because the date represented an era when all was very different from the time he was writing. In 1912, rigid class and gender boundaries seemed to ensure that nothing would change. Yet by 1945, most of those class and gender divisions had been breached. Through his play Priestly wanted to show how different the two eras were yet were only a few years apart, this shows that things can change. As priestly was a socialist who believed everyone should be treated fairly he did not approve of the way in which the Upper Class thought of themselves as superior to everyone else and he wanted everybody to be responsible for each other’s welfare. Through ‘An Inspector Calls’ he hoped he could present his concerns through the play by presenting the characters as what they would have been like in 1912 he could show how they reacted to situations and how the Upper Class felt they didn’t have to answer to anyone. A character to portraits an Upper/Middle Class woman is Mrs Birling. From the outset of ‘An Inspector Calls’ Priestly clearly conveys his attitudes about Mrs Birling through describing her in the opening stage directions as “A rather cold woman”. In describing her in this way it is possible to suggest that she has no warmth to her character and she doesn’t come across very approachable unless you know her very well. Mrs Birling may want to come across this way as she doesn’t want the lower classes to think she is friendly enough to talk or even consider helping them in their daily struggles. By choosing the word ‘cold’ to describe Mrs Birling, Priestly is suggesting that Mrs Birling has no feelings and we can see this throughout the play as she doesn’t feel guilty about the time she prejudiced against the girl who applied to...
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