How Are Mr Birling and Sheila Presented in Act1 of the Play

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‘How are Mr Birling and Sheila presented in act1 of the play?’ In act 1 both Mr Birling and Sheila are presented as respected people who clearly are quite wealthy. Sheila is Mr Birling’s daughter who hasn’t really seen the outside world and Mr Birling thinks that he knows everything about life. Mr Birling is a middle class business man who is head of the Birling family. In the stage directions he is described as ‘heavy looking’. Mr Birling is a married man who is very important and confident who likes to lecture his children. Mr Birling is the owner of a successful factory. He realises that when his daughter gets married to Gerald it is going to do a lot of good to his business. He does not pay his employees very much and will refuse to pay them anymore. Mr Birling is a very selfish man who ‘has to make his way’ and doesn’t think of anyone but himself and his family; he thinks the community is stupid. He likes to make predictions on future- the unsinkability of the titanic, the impossibility of the war and the promises of technology. Sheila is presented as a very pretty and a quite honest character. She is engaged to Gerald Croft and they have just had their engagement party. When the inspector tells Sheila about Eva Smith she showed a lot of emotion and felt that she had to tell the inspector everything that happened. She showed sympathy for Eva and now regrets what she has done. She is nothing like her mother; she thinks a lot more for herself and will stand up for herself for example when she questioned Birling about him knowing Eva Smith- Mrs Birling would never question Mr Birling. Before the inspector came Sheila knew nothing about the outer world and the different classes, her parents kept her away from it all. Sheila is already showing change as a person even though it is very early on in the

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