In this part of the essay I intend to discuss how the characters talk and act and how I think Priestly intended the audience to view them. I shall begin with Mr. and Mrs. Birling. I think Priestly uses the characters of Mr. Mrs. Birling to display the greed and ignorance of the pre-war aristocracy. He displays them as selfish and complacent and unwilling to admit their mistakes. Mr. Birling is stereotyped by Priestly as a pride filled, over confidant and boastfully uncompromisable. Some examples of this are I say you can ignore all this silly pessimistic talk and were in for a time of steadily increasing prosperity.
Similarly Mrs. Birling is displayed as stuck up and someone who enjoy looking down on other people I also get the sense that she believes wealth and status only are important. She is depicted by Priestly as a woman obsessed with how she and her family are perceived with in high society. I believe she is also a meddler who likes to gloat in other peoples problems. As a contrast to the senior Birlings their children are not perfect but willing to learn from their mistakes. I think Priestly intended the audience to view Sheila and Eric as a ray of hope in a very gloomy play. They are used to represent the new generation, the future.
Ill begin with Sheila who is an out spoken member of the Birling family. Sheila is also a bit spoilt for example chump, I cant drink to this she also interrupts other people midway through speech constantly throughout the play. Eric is similar to Sheila but he is more direct and abrasive, this could suggest that Eric is under a lot of stress because the tone of his voice is defensive and sarcastic. This is used by Priestly to give the an impression that Eric may have some underlying issues.
I think that Priestly intended the audience to view Inspector Goole as a kind of unlikely hero, whom the audience can support because he is not portrayed as stuck up nor ignorant or weak as the other characters who had played a part in Evas death. In fact he is portrayed as very intelligent by Priestly because he is constantly getting the other characters to confess to their part in Evas death without them even realising whats going on. He is also displayed as compassionate and caring. This is a contrast to Mr. and Mrs. Birling. I believe that Inspector Goole is the catalyst for the whole play because he can sense when a character is weak and then he pounces with his well thought out questions. He did this with all of the characters. This extraordinary ability makes him seem knowledgeable, powerful and undefeatable.
Priestly makes the play engaging and exciting by creating dramatic tension. He does this by the way he unravells the mysteries surrounding the circumstances of Evas death. Overtime Priestly reveals a secret about Eva, he links another character to her death. For example when Eva says her name is Mrs. Birling to Mrs. Birlings charity and she is refused help, and how revelations about Eric come to light i.e. That he is an alcoholic, a womaniser, a thief and a liar.