Sybil Birling Essay

624 Words3 Pages
One could agree that Sybil Birling is the most unsympathetic character of all since Priestly illustrates, throughout the play, the flaws in her character. In the first act we don’t hear much from Mrs Birling but one can already get an idea of her personality. When her husband praises the cook, she replies, “Arthur you’re not supposed to say such things” . This quote shows that she’s very aware of her social standing. The second act is where one really starts discovering Sybil’s real personality. She is a very controlling person and “please don’t contradict me like that” shows it. Sybil also has a desire to impress other people , for example, when she talks to the inspector about her husband. “You know of course that my husband was Lord Mayor only two years ago and he’s still a magistrate”. This quote is a perfect example of this. Sybil is also unaware of her son’s problems. Throughout the play she keeps getting surprises about her son -and not good ones. At the beginning of the play she finds out from Gerald that Eric has a drinking problem, when he says“ I have gathered that he does drink pretty hard.” This leaves Mrs Birling astonished, baffled and quite angry. She reacts the same when she finds out about Eric being the father of the baby. She thinks she knows best for her children, she probably believes she is protecting them, for instance, when Gerald talks about “women of the town” and Mrs Birling wants Sheila to go out and not listen“ It would be much better if Sheila didn’t listen to this story at all”. Sybil is an extremely self-satisfied woman: “Yes. We’ve done a great deal of useful work in helping deserving cases”, she is very proud of herself and of the “kind” things she does and she is also a judgmental person. Priestly shows how she is the one that decides if she wants to help a woman in need. For example, she
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