Arthur Birling from 'an Inspector Calls' by J.B. Priestley

Topics: An Inspector Calls, Upper class, World War II Pages: 3 (1250 words) Published: March 9, 2013
Arthur birling’s Character
J.B. Priestley wrote ‘An Inspector Calls’, a three act drama which was first performed in 1945, which is after the Second World War ended. In this play, Arthur Birling is a wealthy mill owner and a politician. He represents the capitalist upper class. Since Priestley was a socialist and server in the war, he wanted to show this ruling class family as the ‘antagonists’ in this play, as he himself, in his life, accused the ruling class for their mistakes, who helped trigger the World War.

Arthur Birling is a very big-headed man who takes pride in showing his achievements in life and also himself superior to others by his wealth and class. He tries his best to be the best among people- but only by wealth and class. During their dinner with Gerald, he proudly says to him, “It’s exactly the same port your father gets from him,” which reveals his awareness for higher classes and his eagerness to be part of it. He is quite arrogant, and I feel that his egotism is blinding him up, to such an extent that he’s forgotten who he really is: An ordinary human being, just like everyone else. When he was privately talking to Gerald after dinner, he couldn’t resist mentioning: “There’s a fair chance that I might find my way into the next Honours list. “Just a knighthood, of course.” This tells us that he wants to pass the message to Lady Croft about the promotion of his rank so he could raise himself in the eyes of others. And by doing that, he might have a chance to move up to a ‘better’ social circle- for the more to boast about. Apart from that, he also tries to intimidate the Inspector, but nevertheless tries to disclose his superiority by asking him if he often sees the Chief Constable, Colonel Roberts. He warns the Inspector by saying: “He’s an old friend of mine…I see him fairly. We play golf together…” But since the Inspector shows no care and humorously replies ‘I don’t play golf.”, he became quite angry.

Another negative quality of...
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