How Does Priestly Present Ideas About Responsibility in an Inspecor Calls

Topics: An Inspector Calls, Working class, Middle class Pages: 2 (589 words) Published: May 6, 2013
Arthur Birling says, ‘if we were responsible for everything that happened to everybody we’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it?’ How does Priestley present ideas about responsibility in An Inspector Calls? (30 marks) During the play Priestly shows responsibility through the characters. Arthur Birling feels that he is responsible to make a success out of his business which means, making as much profit as possible even if he is harsh in his dealings with the workers. Also, as a family man he has the responsibility to provide for the material needs of his family, yet it is clear the Eric does not see him as the kind of father to whom he could turn to if in trouble. In the play Mr Birling says: “it would be very awkward” if everyone was responsible. This shows that he is trying to avoid embarrassment because he is higher class and doesn’t want anything to affect his business. This is because his business is important to him and therefore his only main responsibility. The responsibility of his business is shown when Mr Birling says: “a man has to mind his own business.” The word “business” indicates that Priestly is trying to show that during Edwardian times Mr Birling knows that business is more important than his family. Furthermore, his business is therefore important as it places him in a higher class which shows his public image and importance in the town. Here, Priestly successfully demonstrates that during the time period image was more important than family. Sybil Birling accepts her responsibility as chair of the Women’s Charity Organisation, but sees only a responsibility to help those who she feels are deserving of help. Also, once they all discover that the inspector is not real she is happy to drop any responsibility which she has accepted for the death of Eva Smith. This is mainly due to the pride which she shows in her class: “I couldn’t imagine a real inspector speaking to me like that.” Mrs Birling is showing how her...
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