An Inspector Calls Essay

1112 WordsJun 30, 20135 Pages
How does Priestley show the differences in attitudes between the generations in An Inspector Calls? At the start of the play, the older generation is represented by Arthur Birling. He is presented as an ignorant, wealth-obsessed and close-minded man. Because he has money he believes that he is of a higher social class than they are and in Act One he says things like “find myself on the next honours list. Just a knighthood, of course.” He says this because he knows that Gerald Croft’s mother doesn’t like them because she has a higher social class and thinks that Gerald can do better for himself than marrying Sheila Birling – Arthur Birling’s daughter. Priestly has portrayed Birling in such a way that the reader doubts what he says and is weary that the things he comes out with are usually wrong. When Birling talks about the Titanic he says “unsinkable – absolutely unsinkable” Priestley uses dramatic irony here because the reader knows that the Titanic sank. This shows just how close-minded he is to the possibility of what can and will happen. In contrast, at the start of the play, the younger generation is represented by Eric Birling. He is very different from his father because he is presented as carefree, more sympathetic to lower class people and open minded. He believes that there is a chance of war even if his father disagrees. He says “What about war?” during Birling’s speech showing that the younger generation thinks things through more and sees all of the possibilities. Whilst he believes there could be war I think that he says this just to show what Birling’s reaction will be; Eric and Birling clash heads because they both believe they are right and Eric wants to do things his way. At Sheila and Gerald’s engagement party Eric says “Steady the buffs” showing that he likes to joke around. Priestley shows him this way because he wants the readers to know that

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