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Inspector Calls - Mr Birling

Autor:   •  December 20, 2018  •  1,141 Words (5 Pages)  •  173 Views

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Thirdly, Birling makes it crystal clear that he was a misogynist. He did not accept the idea of women being given equal rights as men and believed that they are not strong enough to handle certain situations. “Sheila, take your mother along to the drawing room –.” This exit, forced by Mr. Birling himself supports the assumption that he thinks women are too weak and fragile to discuss the matter of death and may represent his mentality that women are not capable of handling what men can. Additionally, Birling does not seem to be pleased with the idea of granting women the right of freedom of speech. He deems it as something unbelievable, like a women should not be able to say whatever she wanted to, such as when he explained why he fired Eva Smith from his works; “She’d had a lot to say – far too much – so she had to go.” He felt this was a perfectly justifiable reason for firing Eva, simply because she chose to speak her thoughts. Birling thinks that women are limited to their appearance which was their only symbol of self-respect; “…clothes mean something different to a women. Not just something to wear – and not only something to make ’em look prettier – but – well, a sort of sign or token of their self-respect.” Like the preceding points, Birling’s point of view completely contravenes Priestley’s opinions. While Birling believes that women are timid and care only about how pretty they look, Priestley feels that women are as equal as men, which is probably why Sheila is portrayed as a strong character and is Priestley’s voice within the play, expressing his views against Birling; “But these girls aren’t cheap labour – they’re people.” Another way of proving that Birling believed that women were inferior and should not engage in important decisions would be whenever he rejected or tossed Sheila’s comments aside, as if she was irrelevant (“Be quiet, Sheila!” // “That’s enough, Sheila”).

Throughout the play, Priestley uses Birling’s opinions to undermine the audience’s respect for him. Birling constantly contradicts Priestley’s point of view, only making his character more analytical and interesting to break down. We can assume that Priestley set Birling’s views in such a way to highlight the difference in traditions between the two time periods, to show the stereotypical behaviour expected from someone of the higher class and to help the reader recognize Priestley’s political and personal opinions, possibly helping in outlining the difference in their capitalist and social backgrounds.


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