An Inspector Calls Mrs Birling Analysis

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In Act 2 of ‘An Inspector Calls’ , Sheila says to her mother, Mrs Birling, “But we must stop these silly pretences”. How does Priestley show, in his presentation of Mrs Birling, that she often pretends to be something she is not? | In ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B Priestly, Mrs Birling is presented as a character of contrasts. Throughout the play, she attempts to present herself as something that she is not, meaning that she tries to give a false impression of herself. Firstly, J.B Priestly uses other characters to reveal and highlight her the contrasting sides of her personality. She comments “But we must stop these silly pretences”. Sheila is using the word “we” to encompass the whole of the Birling family, as well as Gerard, meaning that they are all trying to hold up pretences in the face of the Inspector’s interrogation. Sheila’s comment illustrates that she recognises her mother’s lack of integrity and honesty. J.B Priestley uses the character of Sheila to show that other characters are aware that Mrs Birling tries to pretend that she is something that she is not. In addition to this, Priestley has carefully scripted the play so that Mrs Birling herself reveals her own contradictory nature of trying to pretend something that she is not. When initially questioned by the Inspector…show more content…
Upon initially meeting the inspector, the stage directions tell us that she is “smiling, social”. She intends to give the inspector the impression that she is welcoming and relaxed. This pretence is soon demolished by the inspector. Her changing attitude is revealed through the stage directions (“distressed”, “staggered”, “alarmed”). Priestley uses these contrasting stage directions to cleverly illustrate that when meeting a new person, Mrs Birling tries to pretend that she is something that she is
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