“Examine carefully the characters of the Birling family and Gerald, how do they share the characteristics of their class, how do they respond to the inspectors revelations ” Mr Birling is a middle class, self-made man. He sees himself as being above all working class citizens in his factory and his employees. He is not jealous of his wife but he does envy her position in social standing, he is also in envoy of Mr Gerald Croft, because he has a knight hood at such a young age, and Mr Birling is only just been considered for one.
His wife was born into money and in to a rich household. He is a self-made man which means that he has worked for all that he now owns. He is awaiting knight hood from the queen, which would put his social standing Even higher because it would give him a title, Sir. Gerald Croft was engaged to Mr Birling’s Daughter, Sheila. The marriage would combine two of the big company’s together, Croft LMT. and Birling’s. When the inspector calls throughout the play the main thing that Mr Birling seems to be worried about is the chance of a public scandal, which would mean that his knight hood could be taken away, and not of the girl. As soon as the inspector enters the dining room Mr Birling tries to show off is influence and power,
“I was an alderman for years- and lord mayor 2 years ago, im still on the bench – So I know the Bromley police officers pretty well.” This is an obvious attempt to intimidate the inspector, The inspector replies to this quite subtly, “Quite so.” This upsets Mr Birling greatly, as he was trying to show power and the inspector ignored him. When the inspector accuses him of knowing Eva, he denies all knowledge of her, but then when he is shown the photo he still denies it to start with.
This behaviour by Mr Birling Shows that he would rather lie, and not risk any trouble than to tell the truth. I think that Prestley is trying to show a section of society through Mr Birling. Mrs Birling is a higher -middle class lady. She was born into a good family and unlike her husband, she was handed every thing that she has from her rich heritage. But she is socially lower than Gerald. She uses her social power against people who are lower than her.
When eva came to her for help, it was Mrs Birling who had the power to turn her away and make sure she did not receive any help, and that is what she did. When the inspector calls she is not in the room but in the living room talking to Sheila about wedding dresses. When she enters the room and sees the inspector she is surprised but not shocked. She acts the same way when she hears the news. This shows us that she doesn’t care about any thing much unless it affects her directly.