Act One Inspector Calls

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  • Act One: Analysis
    • Arthur's speech
      • Everything is seeming to be perfect. They are Priestley's idea of a perfect middle-class family.The father is successful businessman, mother keeps good status, son works at family business, daughter is engaged to an equally rich competitor.
      • However there is evidence of conflict, as Gerald's family are more established and socially superior, and this makes Arthur Birling anxious. Sheila is suspicious, as Gerald was acting strangely last summer. There is a big difference between what is expected of men and women
        • When Gerald says he was simply bust with work, Sheila says "Yes, that's what you say"
      • Arthur Birling begins to give Eric and Gerald a speech about war and business.
        • Arthur birling is confident in his and his families future.In his speech he gives predictions of the future, but a 1946 audience knows he is wrong.
        • He talks about how conflict between bosses and employers wont come to anything, but between 1912, and 1945, there were many strikes.
        • He also talks about technology improving more, and says the Titanic is 'unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable.'
        • Eric asks whether there will be war with Germany and Birling says no, but two years later world war one happens.
          • This is called dramatic irony, as the audience knows something that the characters dont.
            • He also talks about technology improving more, and says the Titanic is 'unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable.'
            • He talks about how conflict between bosses and employers wont come to anything, but between 1912, and 1945, there were many strikes.
    • The inspector Begins
      • The inspector uses very blunt language to announce Eva Smiths death. This shocks the Birlings and helps him with his investigation. He shows a picture of Eva to only Mr Birling.
        • He says the bleach "Burnt her inside out," causing a direct contrast to the playful and polite atmosphere before he got there.
        • Introduction of the following themes: Death, Family life, secrets.
      • It is revealed that Arthur Birling acked Eva Smith from his factory after she "showed a little more spirit than the others" Apparently, Eva was "one of the ring-leaders"
        • This story and Priestley's position of the workers rights against the interests of businessmen gives the play a political element.
        • Eva is described as a "lively, good-looking girl" which makes Birlng appear even worse.
        • themes introduced: Social responsibility (Birling believes it is his responsibility to keep prices low, but its no
      • We find out that Sheila got Eva sacked from her job in millwards.
        • The inspector shows Sheila a photo of Eva and she gets distressed and leaves the room. Shelia says she "felt rotten about it at the time," She got her fired because of her own insecurity and jealousy.
          • Sheila's reaction shows that she knows she behaved badly and that she has grown up since then. She is a forgiveable character.
      • When the inspector gets there, the mood suddenly dips,. This si a change in atmosphere in the play.
    • Eva smith is Daisy Renton
      • Sheila and Eric seem to be less socialist than their parents.
        • Eric points out the hypocrisy of sacking Eva smith for wanting higher wages when his company "Try the highest possible prices"
          • Theme introduction is the difference between generations
        • Eric and Sheila both show emotional remorse, and Sheila is asked to leave the room multiple times, but she stays as he feels like its her duty to see who is responsible.
      • Eva Smith changes her name to Daisy Renton, and this triggers a "startled" response from Gerald.
        • She might have done it because she needed a dramatic change to escape her past, or maybe this is just the Inspector spinning the tale to make a link between two women which is what Gerald thinks.
        • Either way, Daisy Renton is a fresh sounding name for a new start.
          • However, 'under the daisies' was a euphemism for being dead, and 'renton' sounds like 'renting', hinting at prostitution.
    • Gerald confesses
      • When Eric and the Inspector leave to find Mr Birling, it leaves time for Sheila to question Gerald.
      • Gerald says his affair with Daisy was "over and done with last summer" he suggests that they should keep it secret to stop it from becoming a scandal.
        • Sheila is sure that the Inspector already knows everything, and she is worried about "how much he knows that we don't know yet"
          • Increase in tension
        • Theme: Men and Women- it was considered acceptable for a man to have an affair, but not for women
      • The inspector sloly opens the door and looks "searchingly" showing he already knows what everyone has done.
        • All he says when he walks in is "well?" showing his control

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