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Flashcards in Arthur Birling Deck (10)
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What idea does Mr Birling represent



Name 3 qualities about Mr Birling

- selfish
- ignorant
- capitalist


"Arthur Birling is a heavy-looking rather portentous man"

image created - greedy, overweight, self important


"provincial in his speech"

regional accent - implies he has not always been of high status


Why does Priestley use dramatic irony in Mr Birling's speech

To make sure the audience oppose of him from the start - Act 1


"unsinkable,absolutely unsinkable"
"silly little war scares"

Dramatic irony
signifies his ignorance


"if we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we'd had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn't it?"

Mr Birling refuses to take any responsibility for Eva Smith’s death. - Mr Birling dismisses the idea that we should be responsible for each other, suggesting that such a situation would be 'awkward'


"why, you hysterical young fool - get back - or i'll -"

older vs younger generation - Mr Birling turns on his son Eric and nearly attacks him physically - Mr Birling implies here that Eric is a 'fool' because he is young. ironically it is the older person (Arthur) who nearly resorts to physical violence.


"...not only something to make 'em look prettier - but - well, a sort of sign or token of their self-respect."

When Mr Birling is telling Eric and Gerald about women's attitudes towards the clothes they wear. - Mr Birling shows that he has a patronising view of women, making the suggestion that clothes are a sign of self-respect for them. He has a stereotypical view of women here and does not see them as individuals but suggests that all women think in the same way.


"If you don’t come down sharply on some of these people, they’d soon be asking for the earth

When Mr Birling discusses how he sacked Eva Smith after she had gone on strike - Mr Birling feels that it is his responsibility to come down 'sharply' on 'these people'. Priestley wanted the audience to realise that this is the wrong attitude to have, we should be looking after 'these people' not punishing them.