How Does Priestly Present Birling in Act One and Two

Topics: Narcissism, Selfishness, Socialism Pages: 2 (560 words) Published: January 25, 2015
How Does Priestly Present Birling in Acts 1 and 2?
In Act One Birling is presented as very smug and egotistical when Priestly uses the stage directions ‘confidently’ and ‘laughs complacently’. These show Birling is not afraid to show his importance and status. It also shows his arrogant nature that emphasises he wants to dominate the situation, yet when the inspector arrives he loses his authority. ‘Complacently’ shows he thinks other people with a lower status are stupid and unimportant. Priestly wants the audience to see Birlings inflated opinion of himself and show Birling is the opposite of Priestlys moral. Birling especially expresses his self-righteousness to the Inspector when he says ‘I don’t see that it’s any concern of yours how I choose to run my business’. This shows that Birling thinks he is higher class and more important than the Inspector and he therefore is not worthy of an opinion. It also shows Birling does not like to be challenged so will show off to prove he is better and assert authority. Birling is revealed to be very selfish and have no understanding of community this is shown when he says ‘a man has to make his own way’. This shows Birling is only worried about himself and his money. It also conveys his lack of empathy towards those not as fortunate as him. Birlings selfish philosophy conflicts with Priestlys message about responsibility and community which is empathised by the doorbell. The doorbell gives the audience a clue of what the moral of the play is. Priestly uses dramatic irony to show that Birling is patronizing and as an archetypal capitalist Birling looks down on others. He says ‘that’ll have forgotten all these capitalist versus labour agitations and all these silly little war scares’. It displays that Birling thinks that Labour are just lower class people that don’t know what they’re talking about. Also Birlings narcissistic attitude emphasises his lack of empathy like how he doesn’t see his employees as people but...
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