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Mr Birling: A Potentially Sympathetic Character?

This was THE week for me. I returned from the holidays to meet the perfect storm of 2 class sets of homework essays completed over the half-term break, 2 class sets of assessments, one in-class essay, and an internal coursework deadline. I’ve calculated that this comes to a grand total of 328 sides of A4Continue reading “Mr Birling: A Potentially Sympathetic Character?”


Inspector Goole’s Final Speech: An Analysis

When Inspector Goole stands centre stage in Act 3, it is clear that he is about to say something of great significance. The speech encapsulates Priestley’s purpose as Goole becomes the playwright’s mouthpiece and articulates his socialist vision to the audience: “But just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone – but there are millionsContinue reading “Inspector Goole’s Final Speech: An Analysis”

The Symbolism of the Titanic

The Great Exhibition of 1851 was a triumphant celebration of the contemporary belief in man’s ingenuity and society’s ascent to a new level of civilisation. For six months, visitors to the exhibition were able to delight in the greatest technological advancements of the age; as Charlotte Brontë observed, “whatever human industry has created, you findContinue reading “The Symbolism of the Titanic”

Sheila and Sybil: names and their meanings in An Inspector Calls

As soon as the characters are introduced in the opening stage directions of An Inspector Calls, it is clear that their names are symbolic of their characters in some way.* In particular, the names of the female characters are used by Priestley to signal information about them, and can give us some level of insightContinue reading “Sheila and Sybil: names and their meanings in An Inspector Calls”

“An Inspector Calls”: To what extent is Mr Birling presented as arrogant?

Mr Birling’s arrogance is arguably his defining feature. From the opening stage direction to his final words, Priestley draws our attention to Birling’s “portentous” mannerisms and desire to act the part of the family patriarch and the wealthy industrialist. As Birling symbolises the capitalist ideology within the play’s microcosm of Edwardian England, it is clearContinue reading ““An Inspector Calls”: To what extent is Mr Birling presented as arrogant?”

“An Inspector Calls”: To what extent does Eric understand his role in Eva’s death?

Eric Birling is a character that many readers are drawn to – initially, at least. Placed closest to the audience in the opening scene and created as a character foil to his father’s objectionable pomposity, Eric is presented as a reasonably likeable, if misguided, young man. Realising that he is the father of Eva’s child,Continue reading ““An Inspector Calls”: To what extent does Eric understand his role in Eva’s death?”

“An Inspector Calls”: Edna

In An Inspector Calls, although Edna has only a handful of lines, her frequent presence on stage is a continual reminder of the plight of the working classes: silenced, submissive, and compliant, the family’s servant ensures that the Birlings do not need to sully their hands with menial tasks. Yet, despite her passivity, it isContinue reading ““An Inspector Calls”: Edna”

“An Inspector Calls”: Mr Birling vs Inspector Goole

In An Inspector Calls, Mr Arthur Birling and Inspector Goole are diametrically opposite; they symbolise the incompatible political and moral standpoints that provide the play’s central conflict. Mr Birling is a capitalist, meaning that he represents a system of economics by which businessmen control and retain the profits produced by their industries. He is anContinue reading ““An Inspector Calls”: Mr Birling vs Inspector Goole”

“An Inspector Calls”: The Symbolism of the Dining Table

Visually, the Birlings’ dining table dominates the scene, ostensibly a symbol of cheerful family life. At first glance, the act of harmoniously sharing a meal around a table suggests that the cast of characters is close-knit and contented in each other’s company. Therefore, the initial impression is one of the stability of upper-middle class EdwardianContinue reading ““An Inspector Calls”: The Symbolism of the Dining Table”