Gerald and Sheila's relationship

Categories: Books And Reading

Priestley looks at the position of women, and men in society also, and the standards expected through out the play. For example when Gerald was supposing away at 'the works', Mrs. Birling says '... men with important work to do sometimes have to spend nearly all there and energy on business. ' This not only brings out the tension and doubt into the audience between Gerald and Sheila's relationship and future but also the inequality that women face and how they have to accept it, where as men have freedom to do what the please.

The social difference is also shown when the women are asked to go to the drawing room while the men are left to there port and cigars, this shows the difference's in the sexes clearly. We can see though from just at the very start of the play that Mrs Birling is the woman in charge, at least in terms of social status. She is always interrupting and correcting Mr Birling for example- "Arthur, you're not supposed to say such things-".

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This shows she is always looking down on Mr Birling as he is lower in the social order than her, and she wants her whole family to be seen like her, this is vital to the play as it really shows the idea of class and how people from different backgrounds with a high social class are sometimes seen as better people, and feel the right to look down on other people. It is not only the dramatic methods, which show us how Priestley shapes the audience.

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We can also see hidden meanings in his writing, in terms of ideas, themes and language. For example, the name of Inspector Goole, 'Goole' is said the same as 'Ghoul' which has the definition ghost or apparition, this is particularly interesting as we find out at the end of the play that he is fact a fake inspector like a ghoul is not real. He is a dramatic method in himself, a catalyst who brings about a new self-knowledge in the characters and carries Priestley's message of social responsibility.

Priestly uses all of the techniques which have been talked about to give the play an air of suspense, and he writes in a way which makes the audience want to ask questions about not only the plot but the characters in the story, like Mr Birling and his capitalist ways. You can see how Priestly wants to shape the audiences expectations for the rest of the play; he wants people to know that Mr Birling is a narrow-minded ignorant businessman, who has no idea about the future, which is shown well by the dramatic irony.

He wants to show how there was a big social divide between the men and the women, and he also wants to show how Eric would become to be looked down upon at all times by his father in a patronising manner. I think in particular the use of irony brings out the worst in Mr Birling, and this is a good way of Priestley showing Mr Birling's true character with out telling the audience straight out, what kind of a man he is.

He wanted the inspector to have an air of importance about him, which is why he used such dramatic methods to introduce him, as soon as Edna introduced him he was to be known as the domineering character, with the way the lighting and sounding changed to bring an air of tension about the set in particular. It is easy to see how the more times you watch or read this play you understand it better, as it is so well written that it may take a few times to truly discover all the hidden layers of meaning.

Updated: Nov 01, 2022
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Gerald and Sheila's relationship. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Gerald and Sheila's relationship essay
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