An Inspector Calls - Character Summary

  • Created by: AcidRaine
  • Created on: 28-04-19 19:09

Inspector Goole is...

Moral: "We don't live alone. We are members of one body"

Authoritve: "All in good time"

Blunt: "And then you decided to keep her - as your mistress?"

Dramatic: "Fire and blood and anguish"

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Mr Birling is...

Ambitious: "There's a good chance of a knighthood"

Business-minded: "For lower costs and higher prices"

Selfish: "A man has to make his own way"

Anxious: "There'll be a public scandal - unless we're lucky"

Theme - Social Responsibility:

Birling dismisses the idea of social responsibility. He calls people like Goole "cranks"

Theme - Social Class:

Birling is a wealthy businessman, but it was more prestigious to come from an "old country family" like the Crofts, that had land, inherited wealth and titles (e.g. 'Lady', 'Lord')

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Mrs Birling is...

Traditional: "When your're married you'll realize..."

Proud: "I was the only one of you who didn't give into him"

Prejudiced: "As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money!"

Cruel: "I used my influence to have it refused"

Theme - Social Responsibility:

Mrs Birling is involved with the Brumley Women's Charity Organisation which she says only supports 'deserving cases'. The word 'deserving' was traditionally used to distinguish between the poor who physically can't help themselves and the indeserving who shouldn't be helped

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Sheila Birling is...

Strong-minded: "I don't believe I will. So you be careful"

Sharp: "He's giving us the rope - so that we'll hang ourselves"

Mature: "It was my own fault"

Moral: "But these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people"

Theme - Learning about life:

Priestley makes Sheila seem young and childish at first. It makes her involvement in Eva/Daisy's downfall seem more like the result of immaturity. This makes it easier to forgive her. 

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Eric Birling is...

Irresponsible: "I didn't even remember - that's the hellish thing"

Unloved: "You don't understand anything. You never did"

Sensitive: "My God - I'm not likely to forget"

An alcoholic: "I was in that state when a chap easily turns nasty"

Theme - Judgement:

Gerald treats Eva/Daisy as his 'mistress' and ends the affair - his reputation is not damaged. But Eric drunkenly gets Eva/Daisy pregnant, steals money for her and brings a scandal on his family. 

Theme - Family Life:

Birling seems disappointed in his son, and gets on better with Gerald. This must be hard for Eric.

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Gerald Croft is...

Respectable: "The easy well-bred young man-about-town" (From intro)

Upper-class: " We're respectable citizens and not criminals"

A liar: "I wasn't telling you a complete lie"

Traditional: "I should say so!" (Gerald agreeing with Mr Birling)

Theme - Young and Old:

If it wasn't for Gerald, it'd be easy to say that Mr and Mrs Birling are selfish and unchanging because they're too old. But Gerald's character shows that younger people can be just as selfish and old-fashioned

Theme - Social Class:

Gerald might have made Eva/Daisy happy for a time, but he still treated herbadly because of her social status. He kept her as a mistress for his own pleasure and discarded her when it suited him.

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