An Inspector Calls Themes: Men and Women

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  • Men and Women
    • Women: supposedly obsessed with "pretty clothes", shopping and weddings (Sheila gazes adoringly at her ring)
      • Sheila gets Eva sacked because of pride, vanity and jealousy -stereotypical female traits in the play
      • "Clothes mean something different to a woman. Not just something to wear - and not only something to make 'em look prettier - but - well, a sort of sign or token of their self-respect"
    • Men: preoccupied with work and public affair.
      • "The miners came out on strike"
    • Gerald feels it's "his duty" to rescue Daisy from the womanizer in the Palace Variety Theatre
      • Gerald is allowed to sleep around before his marriage
        • Sheila isn't. There are different rules for men and women
      • Birling says that even in his day they "broke out and had a bit of fun sometimes"
    • Eva and Sheila try to rebel and break out of the roles they've been given
      • Instead of relying on a man to save her, Eva refuses to take Eric's stolen money
      • Sheila interrupts and challenges her family at different times - apart from the Inspector
      • Eva/Daisy questioned the decision of her boss instead of quietly accepting it
      • Sheila states her own opinions, not those she is "supposed" to have
        • "That's what's important - and not whether a man is a police inspector or not" She's learnt to think for herself
    • By the end: Birling, Eric and Gerald  get weaker as Sheila gets stronger. Priestley does this to challenge the audience's view of women at the time
      • Gerald's rejected by Sheila
      • Birling is "panic stricken" and weaker than he proposed himself to be
        • The whole night has slowly undermined his authority
      • Sheila voices her own opinions
      • Eric is revealed to be nervous and lazy, with a drinking problem
    • Women were seen as men's property and inferior. The only way they could raise their social status was to marry a wealthy man
      • "Just used her for the end of a stupid drunken evening"
      • "As if she were an animal, a thing, not a person"
    • Women were seen as weak and ignorant
      • They're protected against "unpleasant" and "disturbing" things
      • "I protest against the way in which my daughter, a young, unmarried girl, is being dragged into this"
      • "Sheila, take your mother along to the drawing room"
      • Sheila is accused of being hysterical - a state often associated with women at that time


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