An Inspecor Calls

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  • An Inspector Calls
    • Character
      • Sheila Birling
        • She is described at the start as "a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited."
        • We know that she has had suspicions about Gerald when she mentions "last summer, when you never came near me."
        • She is horrified by her own part in Eva's story. She feels full of guilt for her jealous actions and blames herself as "really responsible."
        • She is very perceptive: she realises that Gerald knew Daisy Renton from his reaction
        • She is curious.
        • She is angry with her parents in Act 3 for trying to "pretend that nothing much has happened."
        • At the end of the play, Sheila is much wiser.
      • Mr Birling
        • He is described at the start as a "heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties but rather provincial in his speech."
        • He has worked his way up in the world and is proud of his achievements
        • However, he is aware of people who are his social superiors
        • He is proud that he is likely to be knighted, as that would move him even higher in social circles.
        • He is optimistic for the future and confident that there will not be a war
        • He is extremely selfish
        • At the end of the play, he knows he has lost the chance of his knighthood, his reputation in Brumley and the chance of Birling and Co. merging with their rivals
        • He is unable to admit his responsibility for his part in Eva's death.
      • Mrs Birling
        • She is described at the start as "about fifty, a rather cold woman and her husband's social superior."
        • She is a snob, very aware of the differences between social classes
        • She has the least respect for the Inspector of all the characters
        • She sees Sheila and Eric still as "children" and speaks patronisingly to them
        • She tries to deny things that she doesn't want to believe
        • She admits she was "prejudiced" against the girl who applied to her committee for help and saw it as her "duty" to refuse to help her
        • Like her husband, she refuses to believe that she did anything wrong and doesn't accept responsibility for her part in Eva's death.
      • Eric Birling
        • He is described at the start as "in his early twenties, not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive."
        • Eric seems embarrassed and awkward right from the start
        • It soon becomes clear to us that he is a hardened drinker
        • When he hears how his father sacked Eva Smith, he supports the worker's cause, like Sheila
        • He feels guilt and frustration with himself over his relationship with the girl
        • He had some innate sense of responsibility, though, because although he got a woman pregnant, he was concerned enough to give her money
        • He is appalled by his parents' inability to admit their own responsibility
        • At the end of the play, like Sheila, he is fully aware of his social responsibility
      • Gerald Croft
        • He is described as "an attractive chap about thirty, rather too manly to be a dandy but very much the easy well-bred man-about-town."
        • He is an aristocrat - the son of Lord and Lady Croft
        • He is not as willing as Sheila to admit his part in the girl's death to the Inspector and initially pretends that he never knew her
        • He did have some genuine feeling for Daisy Renton
        • He tells Inspector Goole that he arranged for her to live in his friend's flat
        • Despite this, in Act 3 he tries to come up with as much evidence as possible to prove that the Inspector is a fake - because that would get him off the hook
        • It is Gerald who confirms that the local force has no officer by the name of Goole
        • At the end of the play, he has not changed. He has not gained a new sense of social responsibility
      • Inspector Goole
        • He is described as a man in his fifties, dressed in a plain darkish suit. He speaks carefully, weightily, and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking. "
        • He works very systematically
        • He is a figure of authority. He deals with each member of the family
        • He seems to know and understand an extraordinary amount
        • He knows the history of Eva Smith and the Birlings' involvement in it, even though she died only hours ago
        • His final speech is like a sermon or a politician's
        • All this mystery suggests that the Inspector is not a 'real' person
      • Eva Smith
        • The Inspector, Sheila Gerald and Eric all say that she was "pretty.
        • Her parents were dead
        • She came from outside Brumley
        • She was working class
        • The Inspector says that she had kept a sort of diary, which helped him piece together the last two years of her life
        • Think about Eva's name. Eva is similar to Eve, the first woman created by God in the Bible. Smith is the most common English surname. So, Eva Smith could represent every woman of her class.
    • Plot summary
      • Inspector Goole investigates Eva Smiths death
      • Mr Birling had Eva Smith sacked for asking for higher pay
      • Shiela feels responsible for the death because she had her sacked from Milwards
      • Gerald confesses affair with Eva smith
      • Mrs Birling refused to help Eva Smith
      • Eric was the father of Eva's unborn baby
      • Inspector Goole was an imposter
      • The police call the Birling's to investigate the death of a young girl

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