This happens again in one of Mr Birlings speeches, “… -the Titanic- … unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable,” the audience of course again knows that this is wrong as the titanic does sink. All this proves that Mr Birling is very wrong and unreliable. In the first 10 pages each characters is introduced, however throughout the play the characters are changing from how they started out as. Eric is introduced as “half shy, half assertive. ” The audience don’t really know Eric that much as he is always shut out of the family by Mr Birling.
Mr Birling isn’t treating Eric like a son; however he is actually giving that role to Gerald. The audience can tell this by the way Eric is shut out of everything, “Just keep quite, Eric. ” This also shows that he hasn’t got time for Eric, as he keeps cutting Eric off. Also Mr Birling tells Gerald stuff that he doesn’t tell Eric, such as the knighthood, also they started to laugh but as soon as Eric entered they quietened down and told him it was a joke when he asked what was so funny.
When the play starts the audience can tell that there is a “special occasion. ” Sheila Birling was getting engaged to Gerald Croft. From the first 10 pages the audience could tell that Sheila is very childish, this is because she goes around calling her parents “… Mummy… Daddy. ” Also the language she uses shows that she does not act her age, “You’re squiffy… Don’t be an ass, Eric. ” As it is a special occasion for Sheila she is getting all the attention and the audience can see that she is self-centred and very childish.
Yet she is one of the characters who changed the most during the play. She might have started out as childish but at the end she was the one who was the most regretful of what she did to Eva Smith. Nevertheless what she did to Eva smith isn’t really surprising as what she did is what a childish person would do, and the first 10 pages of the play has proved that she is very childish! Eric is also another person who regrets most what he did to Eva Smith/Daisy Renton. He seduced her, which is not really surprising as the way he is treated.
He is not given the fatherly love that all children should receive, he is also a drunk and he is ignored by his parents. From the first 10 pages the audience can tell that Gerald is in the upper class, this is by the way he talks “Absolutely first-class. ” He is also the son of a very wealthy business man, “… your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time. ” However when he seduces Eva Smith it is surprising as we get to know him as a nice, polite and friendly chap.
He does regret what he did but when the Birlings and Gerald find out that the inspector was a fake he changed back again. Gerald is in between the two generations, old and new. Sheila and Eric are part of the new generation and Mr and Mrs Birling are part of the old generation. Priestley is trying to say that the new generation will be better than the old generation. This is one of the messages that are in the play, this is told because Mr and Mrs Birling don’t care what they did to Eva smith but the Sheila and Eric do.