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What Are Your First Impressions on the Birling Family in an Inspector Calls

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The play tells of a wealthy family, who are themselves aristocratic, and above the rest of society. They live in a business-like atmosphere, mostly however, filled with lies, prejudice, and greed from Mr. Birling’s need to achieve higher status. Priestly was known for his concerns about the social order of the world, and conveys this through morality in An Inspector Calls, giving his audience the chance to appreciate his views, and the ways he believed people should treat one another, with the same attitudes and respect we would have ourselves. An Inspector Calls has a socialist aspect to it. It contains many views and references to socialism, and the inspector is arguably an alter ego, through which Priestley could express himself. An Inspector Calls is namely classed as a “time play”, as the family undergo a police investigation into a suicide which they later discover has not happened yet. An Inspector Calls focuses around the Birling family, this consists of: Arthur Burling; head of the family, Sybil Birling; Arthur’s wife, Sheila and Eric Burling; Arthur and Sybil’s two spoilt children, and Gerald Croft; rich and successful, and engaged to Sheila Birling.

The Play begins with the family celebrating not only Shelia and Gerald’s engagement, but Mr Birling’s drive to revolutionize his business along with Gerald’s father, sir George Croft as this is the reason why he discusses his business so frequently. The atmosphere is joyful until Inspector Goole arrives, and announces the death of a young girl-Eva Smith. This throws the family into disclosure as it is revealed that in one way or another, they all knew Eva Smith, and played some part in her suicide.Our first impressions of the Birling family are those of jealousy from the audience as they wish for such a lovely lifestyle.

Mr Birling always seems to be ranting off about how important his business is, even when it is such an important occasion, it seems to be what is always on his mind. Priestley opens the play with great lavishness and luxury; as a wealthy, upper class family celebrates an engagement in a wealthy style. Priestley gets across to the audience the fact that this family is very upper class, through the stage directions, by mentioning the ‘champagne glasses’, `decanter of port’ and cigars, which reflects a rich, relaxing lifestyle of the Birling family as they can afford such things. The audience can see that the atmosphere in the `heavily comfortable house’ is happy and cheerful. The Birling’s are confident with where they are in life, although Mr. Birling wishes for a higher status.

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