Mr Birling Quotes Analysis in ‘An Inspector Calls’

This sample essay on Mr Birling Quotes offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below.

‘An Inspector Calls’ by J. B. Priestley is a play first performed in 1946. This play takes place on a single night, in 1912 and is about the Birling family who live in a town called Brumley who are visited by an inspector late at night. Inspector Goole, questions the family about the suicide of a young woman called Eva Smith.

As the night progresses, each member of the Birling family finds out that each of them are responsible for the young girl’s death. Priestley’s aim in ‘An Inspector Calls’ is to show how everybody’s actions and decisions in life cannot only affect themselves but it can also affect other people as well.

‘We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.

‘ This is Priestley’s aim and he has done this because he was a socialist and he wanted to show the audiences why socialism is essential in the world, socialist believe that everyone should be treated equally. Mr. Birling is the first person to be questioned by the Inspector. Soon Mr. Birling remembers the girl and she used to work in Mr. Birling works, ‘She’d been working in one of our machine shops for a year… They wanted the rates raised so that they could average about twenty-five shillings a week.

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Was Priestley A Communist: Arguments in a Play

I refused of course’ ‘it’s my duty to keep the labour costs down’. This shows that Mr. Birling only thinks of how he can get more money and does not think about the working class; it also shows his ignorance to paying the littlest bit more money to workers, and when the inspector finishes and Birling finds out he is partly responsible he offers money to the inspector, ‘Look, Inspector – I’d give thousands, yes thousands… You’re offering the money at the wrong time. ‘ These quotes show how selfish Mr. Birling is and shows how much he is willing to pay to keep this quite for his knighthood on the next honours list.

Mr. Birling refuses to raise the rates and when the strike finishes he gets rid of the workers who started the strike. Mr. Birling gets rid of Eva Smith who was one of the ring-leaders. He does not care about anyone but himself he is a communist only thinks about himself. ‘A man has to make his own way – has to look after himself – and his family, too, of course… you’d think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive- community and all that nonsense’. This shows Mr.

Birling does not believe in socialism and that he is convinces that communism is right because he learnt in a hard school of experience that a man has to mind his own business and look after himself. Mr. Birling only cares about his status in the community and blames someone else, ‘You’re the one I blame for this (angrily staring at Eric)… There’ll be a public scandal’ Mr. Birling still does not understand that all of them were partly to blame. This shows that Birling is terrified that his status, in the community, might go down and does not care about the community he is in.

Also Mr. Birling is angry that he might not get the Knighthood that he has always wanted. This shows that Mr. Birling cares more about his status, and the pride he will get, than his community that he lives in as well as his friends. Shelia, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Birling is next responsible for Eva Smith’s atrocious death. First of all, she got Eva Smith sacked from Milwards a famous shop that the Birling visits often, ‘I was in a furious temper’. This action was made without thinking about it and she was in so much fury she was not prepared to think about it.

Shelia starts to realise that she’d made Eva Smith life a horror. This was really only Eva Smith’s second job and when she was sacked she did not have much left so she swallowed disinfectant and died. Sheila also said, ‘I told him (the manager at Milwards) that if they didn’t get rid of that girl (Eva Smith), I’d never go near the place again and I’d persuade mother to close our account with them’. This shows that Sheila is a spoilt child and she always gets what she wants. She does think what could happen to Eva Smith in the future.

Also, Sheila is very forceful and insists on everything being her way, ‘It was an idea of my own – mother had been against it, but I had insisted. ‘ This shows how self-centred Sheila. She also did not want the dress without thinking why she did not want it; this was all because of a very bad mood she was in. If she had listened to her mother or the assistant manager, then Eva Smith will still be working in Milwards. When Sheila realise what she has done, ‘(She almost breaks down)… How could I know what would happen afterwards? ‘ This shows Sheila does not think about what she does properly.

Sheila shows her feelings as being upset because of her vulnerable conscience. This shows how truthful the inspector is when he and Mr. Birling say Mr. Birling: ‘You seem to have made a great impression on this child’, Inspector: ‘… We often do on the young ones. They’re more impressionable. ‘ Afterwards, Shelia thinks that at the time she thought it was the right thing to do, ‘Yes, but it didn’t seem to be anything very terrible at the time’. This shows that Shelia makes up her mind without really thinking about what she is doing and capitalises on the power she has, by sacking Eva Smith, a very spoilt child.

Shelia also thinks to herself how dim-witted it was when she was speaking to Eric, Eric: ‘My God, it’s a bit thick, when you come to think of it… I know, I know. It’s the only time I’ve ever done anything like that, and I’ll never, never do it again to anybody’. She realises that she was dim-witted and she hopes she will not do it again. As soon as the Inspector is finished with Sheila he turns to Gerald. Gerald is the next person to be questioned by the Inspector. After the inspector Goole finishes with Sheila he mentions that she changed her name to Daisy Renton.

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Mr Birling Quotes Analysis in ‘An Inspector Calls’. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Mr Birling Quotes Analysis in ‘An Inspector Calls’
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