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This also portrays one of themes presented through out the play of the power held by the rich over the poor – as here Mrs Birling abuses her position as chairmen of the committee and has Eva Smith ‘turned out’ simply because of her own personal feelings.This also allows the reader to question why she is even a member of this charity as she does not come across in the slightest way charitable – it’s almost as though she is a member of this charity so she can look down on others as a source of enjoyment to reinforce her position of power in society.The way in which Mrs Birling is trapped could also be interpreted as situational irony as the reader knows she would not apply the same standards to her own family as she states the father of Eva’s child should be ‘ dealt with very severely,’ yet Eric is condemned by her words.
At the end of the play Mrs Birling’s final line ,’ They’re over tired. ‘ is followed after Sheila and Eric stating that the family can’t continue as before but here, as in the beginning of the play, Mrs Birling dismisses it.
Priestly did this to emphasise the fact that she is completely unchanged by the inspector and will continue to live her life in this cycle of events as she refuses to make a significant change.
‘ – she immediately changes the subject here as Eric states, ‘if you think that’s the best she can do…
‘ She refuses to accept anything other than perfection from her children so when she is faced with less than this she dismisses it – which is also the attitude she has towards Eva Smith as she is not at all accepting of her.
This idea of cyclic events could have also been used by Priestley to convey a sense of repetition of the same mistakes being made in society at the time.
As the play develops Mrs Birling insists on criticising the speech of others which is shown by her disapproval towards Sheila in using the word ‘squiffy’ – here Mrs Birling is surprised to hear Sheila use such words, stating ‘What an expression, Sheila!
The dining room of a fairly large suburban house, belonging to a prosperous manufacturer. The general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable, but not cosy and homelike. Sheila: (same tone as before) Yes, that's what you say. When you're married you'll realize that men with important work to do sometimes have to spend nearly all their time and energy on their business.
(If a realistic set is used, then it should be swung back, as it was in the production at the New Theatre.
This is developed further as we see Mrs Birling, under pressure, trying to shift the blame onto the ‘drunken young idler’ that her pregnant.
Priestley deals with Mrs Birling by having her fall into a trap that she has created for herself as she is confronted with the knowledge that Eric is a hard drinker and the father of the dead woman’s child ,’ I don’t believe it. ‘ Here Steinbeck uses italics for the word ‘won’t’ again showing how even after learning that she is to blame for the death of the own grandchild she still ‘won’t’ accept the truth – which highlights the position of society at the time, as Priestly suggests here that society ‘won’t change despite the need to – just like Mrs Birling.