Birlings House Play

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Characters ARTHUR BIRLING SYBIL BIRLING his wife SHEILA BIRLING his daughter ERIC BIRLING his son EDNA the maid GERALD CROFT INSPECTOR GOOLE All three acts, which are continuous, take place in the dining-room of the Birlings house in Brumley, an industrial city in the North Midlands. It is an evening in spring, 1912. Act One The dining-room of a fairly large suburban house, belonging to a prosperous manufacturer. It has good solid furniture of the period. The general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable, but not cosy and homelike. (If a realistic set is used, then it should be swung back, as it was in the production at the New Theatre. By doing this, you can have the dining-table centre downstage during Act One,…show more content…
(To INSPECTOR.) Then I'm staying. GERALD Why should you? It's bound to be unpleasant and disturbing. INSPECTOR And you think young women ought to be protected against unpleasant and disturbing things? GERALD If possible - yes. INSPECTOR Well, we know one young woman who wasn't, don't we? GERALD I suppose I asked for that. SHEILA Be careful you don't ask for any more, Gerald. GERALD I only meant to say to you—Why stay when you'll, hate it? SHEILA It can't be any worse for me than it has been. And it might be better. GERALD (bitterly) I see. SHEILA What do you see? GERALD You've been through it- and now you want to see somebody else put through it. SHEILA (bitterly) So that's what you think I'm really like. I'm glad I realized it in time, Gerald. GERALD No, no, I didn't mean— SHEILA (cutting in) Yes, you did. And if you'd really, loved me, you couldn't have said that. You listened to that nice story about me. I got that girl sacked from Milwards. And now you've made up your mind I must obviously be a selfish, vindictive creature. GERALD I neither said that nor even suggested it. SHEILA Then why say I want to see somebody else put through it? That's not what I meant at…show more content…
She feels responsible. And if she leaves us now, and doesn't hear any more, then she'll feel she's entirely to blame, she'll be alone with her responsibility, the rest of tonight, all tomorrow, all the next night— SHEILA (eagerly) Yes, that's it. And I know I'm to blame— and I'm desperately sorry— but I can't believe — I won't believe - it's simply my fault that in the end she— she committed suicide. That would be too horrible— INSPECTOR (sternly to them both) You see, we have to share something. If there's nothing else, we'll have to share our guilt. SHEILA (staring at him) Yes. That's true. You know. (She goes close to him, wonderingly) I don't understand about you. INSPECTOR (calmly) There's no reason why you should. He regards her calmly while she stares at him wonderingly and dubiously. Now MRS BIRLING enters, briskly and self-confidently, quite out of key with the little scene that has just passed. SHEI-LA feels this at once. MRS B. (smiling, social) Good evening, Inspector. INSPECTOR Good evening, madam. MRS B. (same easy tone) I'm Mrs Birling, y'know. My husband has just explained why you're here, and while we'll be glad to tell you anything you want to know, I don't think we can help you

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