An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly - How does the play show up the contrasts between the philosophies of Arthur Birling and Inspector Goole?

Essay by drumdexHigh School, 10th grade June 2004

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Arthur Birling and InspectorGoole's philosophies on life and society contrast throughout the play. For most of the play Sheila, Eric and Mrs Birling are fully behind Mr Birling and his philosophies, but towards the end of the play, Eric and Sheila effectively switch sides and begin to back InspectorGoole's philosophies on life and society.

Mr Birling is a strong believer in stratas and classes in society; he believes he is in the upper class. In act 1, Mr Birling says "I'm still on the bench. It may be something about a warrant". This shows that he does put in some effort and do his part for the community. He always striving to get that little bit more respect in the town and is always worried about his reputation and what other people think of him. He also believes everyone should look after themselves; he has a very self-centred view on life.

Most of Mr Birling's philosophies revolve around money and profit. On the other hand InspectorGoole has a totally different view on life. He believes that everyone is equal and we should have collective responsibility for each other. Mr Birling and InspectorGoole certainly have very different views and opinions.

The first point in the play where Mr Birling reveals to the audience that his life revolves around profit is (Page 4, Act 1). Mr Birling is toasting Sheila and Gerald's engagement. In his speech he congratulates them and wishes them a happy life. Nearly a quarter of this paragraph is taken up by Mr Birling talking about 'Crofts Limited' and 'Birling and Company' working better together. He says "we may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing, but are working together for lower costs and higher prices". He...