Before the inspector arrives Birling is confidentially making his speech to everyone about life and because his family believe him it makes him feel strong and commanding over them. However, he loses all his confidence when the inspector intrudes his party and starts to ask him questions about a death. He quickly becomes anxious and uneasy with the continuous questioning because he is put under pressure to answer to someone who he feels isn’t superior to him.
When the inspector firstly enters the room, Birling doesn’t recognise him so he tries to turn the questioning to the inspector, “I’m still on the bench-and I thought I’d never seen you before. ” He uses this to try and win the inspector over because he is a highly respected man. However Birling is quickly put back on the spot by the inspector and his uneasiness with the questions is once again emphasised by Priestly. The stage direction, ‘somewhat impatiently’ is used and this shows that Birling is losing patience with the inspector and cant stand the fact that he is being interrogated over this death.
When the inspector starts suggesting that he has something to do with the suicide he just cant believe what is happening. Firstly this inspector ruins his party and now he feels like he is almost being charged with a death of someone he has nothing to do with. He mentions that it has nothing to do with him to the inspector and this emphasised by Priestly to show Birlings capitalist ways of looking after yourself. Throughout the conversation he has with the inspector, Priestly has used pauses for Birlings words in short phrases.
This is another suggestion of the anxiousness of Birling when he is put under pressure. The visit of this inspector makes Birling more uncomfortable by the minute and this is shown by the stage directions, ‘abruptly” and ‘angrily’ . They both show that he is restless with situation of the inspector questioning him. As Birlings temper is rising the inspector says to him, “I don’t like your tone. ” Birling almost cant believe that he is being spoke to like this, by some inspector he has never seen before. Another stage direction used is, ‘staring at the inspector’.
This gives more emphasis on the fact that he is in disbelief that he being accused. Throughout the act Birlings mood has a complete turn around. At the beginning he is relaxed because he is in charge of the household but from the minute the inspector walks through the door he loses his control over the household and is put on the spot with the inspectors questioning. The continuous questioning and the rude way that Birling feels the inspector has intruded into his house just makes him more angry and the stage directions, ‘abruptly’ and ‘angrily’ show just that.
There is not any stage when the inspector is present that Birling is stable and not feeling like he’s being persecuted and this is continuously emphasised by Priestly throughout the play. During the play Priestly has cleverly developed the character of Arthur Birling, he’s shown his mood changes just from not feeling in control and this is consistently shown throughout the whole visit of the inspector. The dramatic irony that Priestly used make Birling look like a fool and this was just to get the idea that he is a snob and over rated.
All of Birlings stage directions show anger towards the inspector and this is shown regularly. Overall Priestly has cleverly developed the character by using dramatic devices and language that show how a man that thought he was almost above everybody socially can be bought back to reality by being the person that isn’t in charge and is being questioned in an aggressive way.