Every beginning, whether of a play or a book, has to have a very captivating and attention-grabbing opening scene. This is so that the reader can continue watching the play or reading the book without getting bored. The playwright's first job is to make sure that the start is good enough to captivate the audience's attention. J.B. Priestley does this by letting an air of mystery surround the audience as to why the Birlings are having a party for a special occasion.
The mood is very joyful because Arthur Birling, who is usually described as a "hard-headed businessman" is most relaxed and laid back. Yet, as he begins to make the toast, it shows how much of a money minded man he is. This is because even the slightest thing to him including his daughter's marriage is a business deal. He completely fails to see it as a matter of love and this can be supported by, "You're just the kind of son-in-law I've always wanted...and
now you've brought us together"- 'us' being Gerald's father's company and Birling's company. The matter is strictly business to Birling, and nothing to do with his daughter's happiness. This gives a clear view on how his character will react to Inspector Goole and the death of Eva Smith further on in the play.
J.B. Priestley has created Birling to depict his own views on certain things such as social conscience. He deliberately makes Arthur Birling to reflect his personal views on life that he doesn't agree with. When Birling mentions "Your father and I are friendly rivals in business...and now you've brought us together" (pg. 4) in his speech, it automatically allows the audience to link this with the stage direction of Birling being hard-headed and as if his world revolves only around his...