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He represents the
Gerald Croft represents the
selfish attitudes of the
aristocracy - the highest class
of society, comprised of rich
land owners and people who
inherit their wealth from
At the end of the play, he has
not changed. He has not gained
a new sense of social
He lets the audience down; we had
hope that he would change his
attitudes, but he doesn't. It conveys
how ingrained these attitudes were
in the upper class, and how difficult it
was to change them.…read more
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sophistication, he Gives him a sense of
is well put together authority, he doesn't
and serious and need to be big in size
authoritative. to show his strength
"darkish" connotes strong, dominant.
obscurity. He doesn't really
care about being
Thinks before he speaks, he wealthy, he doesn't
The Inspector represents the knows what he is saying. show off his
voice of socialism. This is apparent wealth.
first in his appearance: he wears
plain and ordinary clothes, in He is a figure of authority. He
contrast to the expensive suits deals with each member of the
worn by Mr Birling and Gerald. family very firmly and several
times we see him "massively
taking charge as disputes erupt
It is symbolic that the Inspector rings
the bell of the house just as Mr Birling is
He is Priestley's voice he
telling Eric and Gerald that people must
represents Priestley's strong
look out solely for their own interests
moral views. His job is to make
("a man has to mind his own business
the characters change their
and look after himself and his own - and
attitudes, face up to what they
- "): throughout his interrogation, the
have done and start taking
Inspector champions the very opposite
responsibility for each other
idea - that "we are all responsible for
each other."…read more
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Mr Birling has not changed by the end of Through Mr Birling's thoughtless actions
the play he refuses to learn/take on concerned with material gain [firing Eva Smith, his inability to admit his
board the Inspector's lesson. As a result, and conventional attitudes partial responsibility in Eva's death, and
the play ends with another phone call and covering up for Eric stealing money] -
the announcement of a second visit Priestly used the character of Priestley portrayed the evil side of money
perhaps from a `real' Inspector. Priestley Mr Birling to represent how and capitalism, as well as his dislike for
may be warning his audience of the the upper class frowned capitalism due to the lack of care in society
dangers of not learning the lesson (of social upon people below them in for the poor.
responsibility) themselves. society. He thinks that people
He believed that the results of shouldn't be mixed together
social inequality resulted in the He has strong capitalist
very characteristics shown in views he thinks that
Mr Birling (selfish) people have to make their
own way around and that if
Arthur Birling is used throughout you are struggling then it is
the play to explore the theme of your own fault.
class (how the upper class When the inspector first arrives
dominated and created a division he interrupts Mr. Birling's speech
between themselves in the lower which shows how Priestly doesn't
class as well as looking down on agree with what he is saying
Mr Birling represents and the Edwardian
them) since the Inspector is a vehicle for
greed, self-importance and society he is
stupidity of capitalism. stuck in his ways. his thoughts and views. Mr.
He has worked his way up in the world Birling's views get interrupted
and is proud of his achievements. He which connotes how it's wrong
boasts about having been Mayor and and how socialism is interrupting
tries (and fails) to impress the Inspector capitalism.
with his local standing and his
influential friends.…read more
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We realise that there is something not quite right with Eric when he is first introduced in the opening stage
directions: `not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive'. He is clearly uncomfortable in some way.
He could be drunk at the beginning when he `suddenly guffaws' for no reason. He drinks `pretty hard'.
Another clue that makes the audience suspicious of him is when Gerald jokes to Mr Birling that the arrival of the
Inspector could be something to do with Eric: `Unless Eric's been up to something.' Eric answers, `(still uneasy) Well I
don't think it's very funny.'
He represents the In the beginning he starts off not understanding
· He accepts responsibility
younger generation but then he finds his place as a socialist and
Conveys how the upper class at the end of the wants to pursue it more. By the end of the play,
abused their power over the play he changes he stands firmly on the side of socialism
working class (treated Eva He feels guilt and frustration with
Smith `as if she were an himself over his relationship with
animal, a thing, not a person.') the girl. He cries, "Oh - my God! -
how stupid it all is!" as he tells his
story. He is horrified that his
thoughtless actions had such
"you're beginning to pretend as if
nothing's really happened at all
"my God I'm not likely to forget." and I can't see it like that..."
"my God" shows the distraught he Priestley clearly wants the what has been revealed and
feels and it exacerbates the audience to understand that he exposed cannot be unexposed, he'
impression he has learnt from the is not a complete villain and ll never be the same, he has been
Inspector. He has learnt his lesson, that he is clearly a product of affected by al of it.
he won't "forget" his social his upbringing and
responsibilities. environment.…read more
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"as if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money" she thinks the working class are greedy.
Out of all of the · Represents the Edwardian society she is stuck in his ways
She makes us see just how awful life
Birling's she resists
was for the lower classes at this time · The charity that she runs is purely for her image and
his ideas and
(1912) the class divide was huge. just for the sake of it, not because she actually cares.
attempts to make
her see her social She sees the lower class as morally
inferior Priestley hated this kind of · She has the least respect for the
responsibility. She represents Inspector of all the characters.
Perhaps Priestly attitude and believed that people
created her with these attitudes had to change if She does not change at the
character to show society was going to work end of the play perhaps
and their selfish
how hard it was to attitudes. THEME OF CLASS. this is why `An Inspector
bring about equality Calls' again, to try and make
between all of the her change.
She doesn't think there is any
Attitudes towards working problem in her family at all and
class women -> "I don't all problems exist outside, only
suppose for a moment that seeing what she wants to see.
we can understand why the
girl committed suicide. Girls
of that class-" pg. 30. This Attitudes towards the Inspector -> "I don't understand
shows how she looks down you inspector" ,"that I consider a trifle impertinent."
on Eva and how she was LINK TO CONTEXTUAL EVENTS: · She's reluctant to tell him anything
probably about to say · Sinking of the Titanic, because · Her and the inspector have completely different
something offensive about people of higher class were views which is why she doesn't understand him
her. It shows how she given priority over the · She believes what she is saying is right and she is
thinks of herself as superior lifeboats. This resonates in the looking down on him
and in a position to talk play because the working class · Perhaps trying to prove her power and place to him
that way about others. were left to die. · She isn't giving him a chance
· She metaphorically doesn't · She is the personification of the upper class
"she only has herself to give Eva the lifeboat. · She's prejudiced and looks down on everyone