An Inspector Calls: Arthur Birling Essay

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Arthur Birling: “There’s a good deal of silly talk about these days - but – and I speak as a hard-headed businessman, who has to take risks and know what he’s about – I say, you can ignore all this silly pessimistic talk. When you marry, you’ll be marrying at a very good time…just because the miners came out on strike, there’s a lot of wild talk about possible labour trouble… Don’t worry about it. We’ve passed the worst of it. We employers at last are coming together to see that our interests – and the interests of Capital – are properly protected. And we’re in for a time of steadily increasing prosperity. (Act 1 p.165)) 1. From what you have learned in the previous lesson about socialism and capitalism, what ideology is Arthur Birling supporting in this speech? 2. From what you know about the setting of the play (1912) and the period when the play was first performed (1946), where can you identify dramatic irony in this speech? 1) Arthur Birling is supporting the capitalist ideology throughout the play and the speech above. Firstly he tells Sheila to ‘ignore all [the] silly pessimistic talk, using the adjective ‘silly’ to describe the socialism ideology. Being a self-made man himself, he believes that everyone should receive what they worked for like him. Birling is intended to be portrayed as a typical capitalist by Priestly. He is a pompous (affectedly grand, solemn, or self-important.) man of the upper class and repeatedly mentions and shows off his connections with the ‘Honours list’ and that ‘[he] was Lord Mayor when royalty visited’. In addition, he boasts to Gerald Croft and welcomes Gerald into the family as his ‘future son in law’ and is impressed by the engagement. The fact that Birling admires him for his wealth and upper hierarchy and his shallow, obsessive and constant thoughts surrounding wealth, for example saying the advantage of the
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