The Importance of Social Class as Theme in An Inspector Calls

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The Importance of Social Class as Theme in An Inspector Calls

Why is social class an important theme in the play?

The Middle Class, which is portrayed through Birling and his family, in my opinion is defined as business people who are wealthy and own their own property. However the upper class, which is Gerald’s family, I classify through aristocracy/royalty, or extremely wealthy landowners with status titles.

We are first introduced to the characters of the play in the beginning of act one. This act is set during an after dinner ‘chat’ between the Birling family, and Gerald, who we soon find out is Mr. Birling’s daughter, Sheila’s, fiancée.

‘You ought to like this port Gerald. As a
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When Birling is making a toast to the Gerald and Sheila, who are new fiancées, he seemingly makes a point to include the topic of himself, and his business. Because he can’t seem to stop talking about himself, even when he is meant to be speaking about an engagement, it makes him appear pompous.

‘Rivals in business for some time now- and now you’ve brought us together.’

He also appears to be using the engagement between his daughter, and Gerald, who is the son of a much wealthier businessman than Birling, to benefit him, thus allowing us to conclude that it is adding to his character being arrogant and selfish. It seems that Birling wants nothing more than money, and a successful business. In result to the fact that he appears to be so concerned in the matter of money, allows the audience to suspect that sometime in his life, he was not as wealthy as he appears to be now. This is probably why he is so fixed with the issue, since it is possible that he knows what it is like not to have a considerable amount of wealth, and now that he does, he seems to have become greedy about it, and doesn’t want to loose it. He is so cautious over his money, which made him to be a part of the fault of a suicide.

When the inspector comes to the house, he informs the family of a suicide of a young girl. Again, by the reaction of Birling, we can see how

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