“I can’t accept any responsibility. If we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it?” – Mr Birling (Act One)
Analysis: This quote reflects Mr Birling’s selfish and individualistic mindset. He is reluctant to take any responsibility for his actions and believes that everyone should only be accountable for themselves.
“We employers at last are coming together to see that our interests – and the interests of capital – are properly protected.” – Mr Birling (Act One)
Analysis: Mr Birling prioritizes his own financial interests and those of the capitalist class over the welfare of his employees. This quote highlights his lack of empathy towards the working class and his focus on maximizing profits.
“But the way some of these cranks talk and write now, you’d think everybody has to look after everybody else.” – Mr Birling (Act One)
Analysis: This statement reveals Mr Birling’s contempt for social responsibility and his rejection of the idea of collective responsibility. He dismisses the notion of caring for others and believes in individualism.
“I speak as a hard-headed man of business.” – Mr Birling (Act One)
Analysis: Mr Birling constantly emphasizes his business acumen and practicality. He uses this claim to assert his authority and justify his capitalist mindset, prioritizing profit over the well-being of others.
“The way some of these cranks talk and write now, you’d think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive.” – Mr Birling (Act One)
Analysis: This quote showcases Mr Birling’s disdain for socialist ideas and his belief in a hierarchical society. He sees the idea of collective responsibility as ridiculous and believes in a system where individuals are solely responsible for themselves.
“It’s a free country, I told them.” – Mr Birling (Act One)
Analysis: Mr Birling uses this phrase to dismiss the concerns of his employees who are demanding better working conditions. He believes that as long as there is freedom, workers should not complain about their conditions.
“If you don’t come down sharply on some of these people, they’d soon be asking for the earth.” – Mr Birling (Act One)
Analysis: Mr Birling is critical of workers who challenge their employers. He fears that if their demands are met, it would set a precedent and workers would continue to demand more, threatening the interests of the capitalist class.
“I’m talking as a hard-headed, practical man of business.” – Mr Birling (Act Two)
Analysis: Similar to earlier statements, Mr Birling emphasizes his pragmatism and business-mindedness. He believes in maintaining profitability and thinks this approach should guide decision-making.
“I can’t accept any responsibility.” – Mr Birling (Act Two)
Analysis: Mr Birling continues to deny any responsibility for Eva Smith’s suicide and refuses to acknowledge his role in her tragic end. This quote highlights his lack of empathy and accountability.
“You’re the one I blame for this…You made her pay a heavy price for what she did.” – Mr Birling (Act Two)
Analysis: Mr Birling blames Sheila for her involvement in a shopkeeper’s dismissal, deflecting any responsibility from himself. It reveals his tendency to shift blame onto others rather than admitting his own contribution to the unfortunate events.
“Look inspector – I’d give thousands – yes, thousands.” – Mr Birling (Act Two)
Analysis: Mr Birling attempts to bribe the Inspector to avoid public scandal and protect his reputation. This quote shows his desperation to maintain his societal status and wealth.
“There’ll be a public scandal – unless we’re lucky.” – Mr Birling (Act Two)
Analysis: Mr Birling is more concerned about avoiding public embarrassment and reputational damage than seeking justice for Eva Smith. He prioritizes his personal image above all else.
“I’ve got to cover this up as soon as I can.” – Mr Birling (Act Two) CHEECH AND CHONG QUOTES
Analysis: This quote demonstrates Mr Birling’s eagerness to hide the truth and protect himself and his family from repercussions. It reveals his self-centered nature and disregard for the consequences of his actions.
“I’ve learned in the good hard school of experience.” – Mr Birling (Act Two)
Analysis: Mr Birling’s statement highlights his belief in individualism and personal advancement. He places great value on his own experiences and views formal education as unnecessary.
“Sheila, take your mother along to your room.” – Mr Birling (Act Two)
Analysis: Mr Birling dismisses his wife and assigns her a menial task, highlighting his patriarchal attitude and his role as the head of the household.
“The famous younger generation who know it all. And they can’t even take a joke.” – Mr Birling (Act Two)
Analysis: Mr Birling feels threatened by the changing attitudes of the younger generation, viewing their concerns about social issues as misplaced. He dismisses their activism and fails to recognize the importance of their progressive ideas.
“Nobody wants war.” – Mr Birling (Act Three)
Analysis: Mr Birling optimistically believes that war is avoidable, demonstrating his lack of awareness and understanding of the impending World War. This statement reveals his ignorance and reinforces his detachment from real-world issues.
“Still, I can’t accept any responsibility.” – Mr Birling (Act Three)
Analysis: Mr Birling’s refusal to accept responsibility remains consistent throughout the play. He shows no remorse for his actions and fails to recognize the consequences of his selfishness.
“I say there isn’t a chance of war.” – Mr Birling (Act Three)
Analysis: Similar to earlier statements, Mr Birling underestimates the severity of the social and political issues at hand. He is oblivious to the reality of the impending war and its potential consequences.
“The Germans don’t want war. Nobody wants war.” – Mr Birling (Act Three)
Analysis: Mr Birling’s statement reflects his naïveté and his inability to comprehend the complexities of international relations and conflicts. He remains insistent on his belief that war is avoidable.
“Well, it’s my duty to keep labour costs down.” – Mr Birling (Act Three)
Analysis: Mr Birling prioritizes profit over the welfare and fair treatment of his employees. This quote showcases his exploitative mindset and reveals his lack of empathy towards workers.
“I can’t accept any responsibility. It’s ridiculous.” – Mr Birling (Act Three)
Analysis: Mr Birling’s repeated denial of responsibility reinforces his selfishness and his refusal to accept the consequences of his actions. This lack of remorse contributes to his role as a morally bankrupt character.
“Everything’s all right now, Sheila. What about this ring?” – Mr Birling (Act Three)
Analysis: Mr Birling is more concerned about the return of the engagement ring than the lessons learned throughout the evening. This quote reflects his materialistic mindset and highlights his disregard for the deeper issues at hand.
“We’ve done a great deal of useful work in helping deserving cases.” – Mr Birling (Act Three)
Analysis: Mr Birling attempts to justify his actions and restore his image by emphasizing his past charitable contributions. However, this statement is empty and insincere, considering his lack of empathy and accountability demonstrated throughout the play.