Priestley Criticises the Selfishness of People Like the Birlings. What Methods Does He Use to Present This Selfishness?

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Priestley uses a range of language and theatrical devices to criticise the selfishness of people such as the Birling family. To begin with, Birling shows his lack of understanding and disrespect for the working class. This is show. When he says, "If you don't come down sharply on some of these people, they'd soon be asking for the Earth." This shows a lack of compassion by Birling, as he only cares about his wealth and status, and the profits he can gain from his factories. He refers to the working class as "these people" and clearly shows contempt for them. Also, the use of "these people" shows as Birling seeing himself as very superior and separate, and also doesn't want to do anything to build a supportive working community within the factory. People are seen as machines and are expendable to Birling, rather than individual people who have their own dreams and thoughts. In response, Priestley uses satire when the Inspector responds by saying: "After all, it's better to ask for the Earth than to take it." This tells the audience that Priestley is using Birling to represent a greedy capitalist who just wants to take everything for himself and not share his resources. As a socialist, Priestly would criticise this. As the play was written in 1945, three years before the development of he health service and after the Second World War, there was more equality and fairness within society, so Birling would be seen as quite old-fashioned and narrow minded. In addition, Sheila appears to be heavily influence by the way her parents behave. This is Sharon through her involvement in Eva Smith's death when she get her fired from Milward's. The dismissive way in which Sheila had Eva fired, "If she'd been a plain little creature, I don't suppose I'd have done it. But she was very pretty and looked as if she could take care of herself. I couldn't be sorry for her." shows
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