An Inspector Calls

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  • An Inspector Calls
    • Characters
      • Mr Birling
        • "heavy looking, rather portentous man"
        • Tries to show off his wealth and importance. "you ought to like that port Gerald... it's the exacts same port your father gets"
        • Always puts his business first. "hard headed, practical man of business" "look after his own business, look after his own family". use of syntax - his business is before his family
        • Capitalistic views. "lower costs, higher prices" "probably a socialist or some sort of crank" "community and all that nonsense"
        • Unapproachable. "you're not the kind of father a chap can go to when he's in trouble"
        • Attempts to intimidate the inspector through connections. "I was and alderman for years - and lord mayor two years ago" "he's an old friend of mine"
        • Socially lower than his wife. "her husband's social superior" "Arthur, you're not supposed to say such things"
        • Demands respect - despite not having earned it. "I've told you before, I don't like you're tone" "" I don't like that tone" "I'm not going to have this inspector"
        • Does not accept responsibility for the death of Eva Smith. "Nothing much has happened" "I only did what any employer might have done"
        • "the wretched girl's suicide"
      • Mrs Birling
        • Reminds the inspector who she is to try and intimidate him. "I'm Mrs Birling, y'know". Tries to show that he should know who she is and that this should mean that he should not question her.
        • "a rather cold woman and her husband's social superior" .
        • "the things that prejudiced  me against her case "I think  she only had herself to blame"
        • "Girls of that class""she was giving herself ridiculous airs ... and claiming elaborate fine feelings and scruples that were simply absurd in a girl of that position " as if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money"
        • Is part of the older generation that do not take responsibility for what they did to Eva. "I accept no blame at all" "perfectly justified"
          • "I did nothing I'm ashamed of"
      • Sheila
        • "very pleased with life and rather excited"
        • Suspicious of Gerald. "except for all last summer when, when you never came near me"
        • Suspicions dismissed "you'll realize that men with important work to do sometimes spend all their time and energy on their business. you'll have to get used to it"
        • Realises the inspector is getting everyone to confess first. "he's giving us the rope - so that we'll hang ourselves" "why - you fool - he knows. Of course he knows. And I hate to think how much he knows that we don't know yet."
        • Accepts responsibility. "I behaved badly too. I know I did. I'm ashamed of it" "and probably between us we killed her"
        • Changes her beliefs at the end of the play. "but these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people" "and it frightens me the way yo talk" speaks "passionately" "you're beginning to pretend all over again"
      • Eric
        • Is uneasy at the beginning of the play. Is worried about people finding out about Eva/ Daisy.
        • Accepts responsibility for what he did to Eva/Daisy. " we did her in alright" "doesn't alter the fact that we all helped to kill her" " the fact remains that I did what I did"
        • Also blames his family as well as himself "your own grandchild- you killed them both" "you killed her"
        • Accepts that he was drunk and to blame. "I was I that state when a chap easily turns nasty" the inspector explains that he "used her for the end of a stupid drunken evening as if she was an animal, a thing not a person"
        • Steals money instead of asking for it as he claims that Mrs Birling  is "not the kind of father a chap can go to when he's in trouble"
      • Gerald
        • Is the middle ground between the youthful generation and the elder generations. appears to be the only one that cares for Eva Smith/ Daisy Renton.
        • Is the first to realise that the inspector is not real.
        • Tries to pretend everything is as it was. tries to protect Sheila and get her back by pretending nothing happened."Everything's all right now, Sheila"
        • Appears to care for Eva/ Daisy.  "she was young and pretty and warm hearted "
        • Tries to get Sheila to forget about his mistakes. "how about that ring?"
        • Seems affected by Eva's death. "I've suddenly realised ... she's dead."
        • Does not care that Daisy got hurt at the end of their reliationship as he did not love her. "I didn't feel ab out he as she felt about me."
      • Inspector Goole
        • Appears when Mr Birling is telling Eric and Gerald about his Capitalistic views. Can be seen as symbolic.
        • Goole can be seen as an version of ghoul and may be seen as symbolic of what the inspector may be.
        • In his parting speech he claims that man shall learn "in fire and blood and anguish" referencing the following two wars that commence and how these help to change the capitalistic views of the country and the increase of socialism.
        • Allows everyone to confess what he already appears to know. "you knew it was me all the time, didn't you?"
        • He is responsible for the tension in the room. especially at the end of act 2 when he says that he is "waiting... to do {his} duty". this allows the audience and Mrs Birling time to realise that he is waiting for Eric as e is the father and the person that Mrs Birling holds responsible for Eva. It also builds tension for the audience.
      • Edna
        • Is used to showcase how the rich would be able to control the poor and to represent the lower classes.
    • Themes
      • Capitalism/ Socialism
        • At the beginning of the play everyone appears a capitalist ( especially Mr Birling "lower costs and higher prices"
        • Eric and Sheila change their beliefs. "you're pretending everything's just as it was before" "I'm not!" "but these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people" "you're beginning to pretend nothing has happened... the girl's still dead isn't she?"
          • "We often do on the young ones. They're more impressionable"
          • Still hope for younger generations.
        • At the end Mr Birling is still a socialist seen when he says that the inspector "was probably a socialist or some sort of crank"
      • Morality
        • "public men, Mr Birling, have responsibilities as well as privileges "
        • Mrs Birling admits to have being prejudiced against Eva. "I used my influence to have it refused"
        • Eva has the "elaborate fine felings and scruples" that Mrs Birling claims are "simply absurd in a girl of that position" shown when she knows it is morally wrong to continue taking money from Eric when she knows that it is stolen.
        • Mrs and Mr Birling can be seen as lacking a conscience as they refuse to feel guilty due to Eva's suicide and feel they have played to part in it.
        • Eric and Sheila both feel guilty about Eva's death and feel that they have played a part in it and are therefore responsible. "it frightens me the way you talk" "I agree with Sheila. It frightens me too." shows that they do not want to be like their parents.
      • Responsibility
        • each of the Birlings and Gerald had a responsibility towards Eva which they failed therefore making them responsible for her death.
          • "Each of you helped to kill her"
        • "You're beginning to pretend that nothings really happened" shows that no one was willing to take responsibility, apart from Sheila and Eric.
      • Class structure
        • The social structure is important to the charaters. Mr Birling tries to intimidate the inspector through his social position and links.
        • Eva is seen as disposable as she is easily replaced y those in the same social position. she is lower class and only works in the factories so can be fired by Mr Birling easily.
    • Historical Context
      • Sexism
        • "Men with important business
        • "you'll have to get used to that. Just as I had"
        • Men's choices are seen s more important than women's. "is it the one you wanted me to have"
        • Women were not found in business, instead the higher class women would usually do charity work. ie. Mrs Birling.
        • Women's priorities are seen as less important than men's. "clothes mean something quite different to a woman " "a token of their self respect"
      • The children of the upper class families are heavily protected/ molly coddled by their parents.
        • They attempt to shield Sheila from Gerald's confession even though she Is engaged to him. "why stay when you'll hate it" Even Gerald tries to protect her from the confession.
    • Techniques
      • Dramatic Irony
        • "unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable" "Germans don't want war" "make war impossible"
        • The audience at this point would know that Mr Birling's beliefs were wrong and shows how little he actually knows.
        • Before the inspector leaves he claims that "they will learn in fire and blood and anguish" referencing the following two wars that occur that the audience knows about.
        • "there'll be peace and prosperity and rapid growth"
  • Is part of the older generation that do not take responsibility for what they did to Eva. "I accept no blame at all" "perfectly justified"
    • "I did nothing I'm ashamed of"

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