Mr. Birling and Sheila: Their Attitudes to Life

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When the Inspector arrives, Sheila is not actually present, but Mr Birling is. Mr birling straight away try’s to convey to the inspector ‘high’ status in society, both with gestures and speech, even before the inspector gets a chance to introduce himself. Mr Birling offers the inspector a glass of port and follows the offer with the sentence “I was a alderman for years and lord mayor two years ago”. These examples clearly outline the tactic Mr Birling employs of which is to make the inspector feel that he is a man of no crime and that he is very high class. The offer of a glass of port to the inspector is a particular intelligent tactic of Mr Birling’s because port was expensive drink which only rich people could all themselves, so by Mr Birling offering port he was subtly implying to the inspector that he had a lot of money. Although his sly tactics are later drowned out by his sentence outlining his position of authority, which is particularly prominent. In comparison Sheila is not focused on conveying anything about her, but rather focused on the reason the inspector is present. It is clear this is the case as her first interaction with the inspector is by asking him “what’s all this about?”. By saying this, as apposed to introducing her first as her father did, she shows she isn’t selfish and she is trying to be aware of her surroundings.

The reaction of both Mr Birling and Sheila, when subsequently questioned on their involvement in the death of Eva, shows a great distinction between their attitudes to life, how much they value the social hierarchy. when the Inspector exposes how Eva Smith came to her death, and how Mr Birling could possibly linked to the death of Eva, he is quick to refuse any responsibility for her death “don’t get excited. This girl left almost two years ago”. Subsequently, When the Inspector begins to question Mr Birling, he becomes impatient with the Inspectors questioning and so again he reminds the Inspector of his position...
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