An Inspector Calls

A Study in Contrasts: The Inspector and Mr. Birling as Complete Opposites 10th Grade

In An Inspector Calls, Mr.Birling and the Inspector are complete opposites of each other and are used to support different ideas of the themes in the play. Their importance in terms of awareness of society, consideration for the community, and philosophies about political ideas are completely different. Priestley has mainly done this in order to make the audience see the right path to a better society while seeing what the other wrong path looks like in the form of Mr.Birling’s character.

Priestley has characterized Mr Birling and the Inspector very differently. Physically they are similar; the Inspector has an “impression of massiveness” and Mr Birling is a “heavy-looking” man. Mr.Birling is however called “heavy-looking” almost like a burden to society as he is described as “heavy”. Playwrights like Priestley were often known to craft the characters audiences were meant to dislike as grotesque; Mr.Birling’s description as “heavy-looking” does just that by making Mr.Birling seem like a burden. Moreover, Mr.Birling is a “portentous” man which is in contrast to the inspector’s “impression of massiveness”. Due to Mrs.Birling being the “social superior” of Mr.Birling, he feels “portentous” and constantly wants to impress....

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