In this essay I will try to decide whether Arthur Birling is a person we should admire. To do this I need to study different points of his character and support these points with extracts from the playscipt. I will view both his admirable qualities and the sides of his character that I don’t admire. I will consider the reasons behind his character and sum these up in my conclusion. On page 11 we learn that Birling has a very high standing in Brumley. He was an alderman for several years and was Lord Mayor for a time too. It is not surprising that Birling is in line for a knighthood.Order now
These achievements are not to be sneezed, at they are very admirable in my opinion. However, I don’t like the way Birling attempts to abuse his influence and friendship with those in power. There is evidence of this on page 16 in the playscript, Birling hints at the inspector that if he causes him or his family any bother then the inspector might get into trouble with his chief because Birling is associated with him. This could be evidence that Birling has cheated his way to the top because if he doesn’t hesitate at attempting to threaten an officer of the law he would have no trouble attempting to corrupt others, for example his rivals.
This factor of Birling’s personality I don’t find admirable, one should not abuse power like this, however it is ironic that by the end of the play Birling’s association with the high and mighty is not enough and Birling has to offer the inspector money as a bribe. Birling appears to be well educated particularly near the start of the play when he is lecturing Gerald and Eric. He has many fair opinions on life and although inaccurate, his predictions are well founded.
We can assume that Birling’s knowledge is what got him to where he is in life at the moment, as a successful business man and a pillar of the community. There is evidence that he had worked his way to the top on page 10 when he says “A man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own. ” If my assumption is correct then I find this aspect of Birling’s life very admirable, it shows that he is a very hard-working man. However, in the script there are some instances where he has contradicted himself and his inaccurate predictions might be a sign that he is not as intelligent as he would like people to think.
For example, when Birling says “a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own. ” He then contradicts this after the inspector has left on page 64 by telling Eric off for standing “as if you’d nothing to do with the rest of us. Overall though I think that he is well educated and I also admire the way that Birling tries to pass on his knowledge to Gerald and Eric by lecturing them. It is good to share what you have learned. Birling has risen one daughter called Sheila and one younger son called Eric and he is married to Sybil.
He treats Sybil with a lot of respect but then Sybil comes from a high class family and Birling has a weakness in this area but I shall discuss this later. Birling’s treatment of his children is the opposite. He disregards their comments and opinions on several occasions throughout the play and is constantly talking down to them. This kind of treatment might be acceptable if his children were young but his children are in their twenties, they’re young adults! We have to consider that the social belief at the time was slanted towards the belief that young adults were still children and therefore inferior but this still does not excuse Birling.