Characters in J.B. Priestley's A View From the Bridge

1367 Words6 Pages
Characters in J.B. Priestley's A View From the Bridge The two characters I have chosen to write about are Mr Birling and Sheila. I chose these two because Mr Birling and Sheila have very different Characteristics. Sheila, being a much younger character, is quite impressionable, whereas Mr Birling is not. Sheila's attitude and views change as the story goes on, whereas Mr Birling refuses to change altogether. Their characteristics are shown in their reactions to Eva Smiths death, and to each other. Mr Birling is the father of Sheila and Eric Birling and considers himself to have a very high status in society. He is a prosperous factory owner, a local magistrate and ex-lord mayor of Brumley. He regards himself as being reasonable, but his first priority is to make money "It is my duty to keep labour costs down" and therefore pays his employees no more than the going rate. However as the play continues further, we are shown how Sheila sees her father being exposed as a "hard headed business man" and as an insensitive character. The audience in 1946 were of the post war society. They would of seen Mr Birling as their past and mistakes. Mr Birling is optimistic of the future, yet in his speech about the titanic being unsinkable and that there is no chance of war, the audience already know that the titanic is not unsinkable and that there will be two world wars as they have already experienced both tragedies. When the inspector arrives, the reaction of Mr Birling initially displays changes within a few moments. At first, he and Gerald joke about the reasons for the inspector's visit, a Mr Birling probably feels that he has n... ... middle of paper ... ... generation also the ones who will learn from their mistakes. Mr Birling is representing the older generation, he older generation are the ones who will not learn from their mistakes, as the old saying goes "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". The message that it sends the post war audience is that we change, and start looking after everyone and not just yourself. We see this in his "fire, blood and anguish" speech. If men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire, blood and anguish. That was Priestley's main message to the post war audience; he was referring to the world wars. Priestley was just saying that if we changed in 1912 instead of treating others like dirt and then treating yourself like royalty. And that we could of changed and if we did the world would be a much better place now.
Open Document