English Literature - Unit 1- Question

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What function does the character of Sybil Birling have in 'An Inspector Calls', and how does Priestley present this character?

In 'An Inspector Calls' Priestley wants to put across an important message of equality. Everyone needs to be aware of their responsibility to others, and that they should treat everyone fairly. Sybil Birling's main function in the play is to show how social etiquette and her status in society is more important to her than her moral status. In order to do this, Priestley presents Sybil Birling as someone who is so obssessed with social class and reputation that she can't recognise connections between her life and anyone else's.

One of the primary functions of Sybil Birling in putting across Priestley's message is when she blames other people for her actions and it does not turn out the way she wants it to. In the play, the Birling family represent an out-dated, class-obsessed society. Sybil does not want to take responsibility for her actions so she can still be respected. When it is found out in the play that she refused Eva/Daisy charity, she realises that she can blame the father of the child instead of…


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