Power Shift From Birling to the Inspector in the Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

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Power Shift From Birling to the Inspector in the Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley


In this essay, I am going to write about how the audience of this play is made aware of the power shifting from Mr Birling to the Inspector. This play is set in 1912, but it was written in 1945, after the Titanic had sunk, and the Depression and both World Wars had happened. In 1912, people were quite pleased with themselves. A lot of them had made a lot of money through industry and they thought that everything would turn out all right. The Birlings are such a family. However, there were many poor people and some people, such as the Inspector, took the opposite extreme view.

Dramatic Devices
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You can tell that he has control from the way he stops Gerald and Eric from looking at the photograph when he shows it to Mr Birling, and from the way he remains calm all the time, whereas Mr Birling gets angry and excited.


Birling is a heavy looking man in his fifties who owns a successful business and a large house in the city. His wealth makes him pleased with himself and complacent, which puts him in a dangerous position. He is domineering, narrow-minded, conceited and likes to be in charge. He is head of the family, has strong views, and believes he is right. He has an impatient manner. He is very right wing and doesn't see working class people like Eva Smith as people, just cheap labour. He is perhaps made more right wing because he feels insecure in his place in the class system and feels embarrassed about his background, which you can tell from his accent - that he used to be poorer. Another explanation could be because he has made a lot of money for himself and feels that everyone could do the same if they wanted to. His power and his right wing views are undermined during his speech to Gerald and Eric, when he says that the Titanic won't sink and there will not be a war.

He thinks that he is better than the Inspector because he is from a higher class - "I don't propose to give you much rope"

His wife, Sybil, is from a higher social

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