Love and Marriage

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  • Love and Marriage
    • Mr Birling sees marriage as a way of climbing the social lader, so he is delighted at Sheila's engagement to Gerald, the son of a Lord
    • Mr Birling's motives for marrying Sybil Birling may have been more to do with her social position than true love
    • "When you're married you'll realise that men with important work to do sometimes have to spend nearly all their time and energy on their business" - Mrs Birling
    • Parental love is lacking in Eric's life.
    • Physical attraction was one motive behind Gerald and Eric's relationships with Eva Smith
    • Inspector Goole promotes love as charity, (where we  care for others in our communities)
    • At the beginning of the play Sheila and Gerald appear to be in love as they celebrate their engagement
    • Sheila realises after the revelation of Gerald's affair that trust and honesty are the basis of a good and happy marriage
    • Married women during the Edwardian period would be expected to put their husbands before themselves at all times
    • Men were expected to work to support their families and to 'protect' women
    • "I hate those hard-eyed dough-faced women." - Gerald
    • "..not only something to make 'em look prettier - but - well, a sort of sign or token of their self-respect." - Birling
    • An Inspector Calls was written after World War Two. As many British men went away to fight during the war, their positions in work had to be filled by women. This helped change existing perceptions. Men had to acknowledge the fact that women were just as capable as them.
    • Gender roles were well defined for the wealthy middle class
    • "She was claiming elaborate fine feelings and scruples that were simply absurd in a girl in her position." - Mrs Birling
    • "young and fresh and charming" - Gerald about Eva Smith

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