An Inspector Calls-Characters

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  • Created by: AlyxG
  • Created on: 05-05-16 10:59

Inspector Goole

"Millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths left with us." - Emphasises millions to show that responsibilty matters and they need to care about everyone else in the world. "Eva" = Similar to Eve - Every woman. Both common names in England.

"You've had children. You must have known what she was feeling. And you slammed the door in her face." - Theme of blame and responsibility. "You" emphasises guilt onto Mrs Birling.

"What happened to her then may have determined what happened to her afterwards...A chain of events." - The way he speaks is similar to a chain, the construction itself is a metaphor for Priestley's insistence that we are all responsible for eachother.

"She kept a rough sort of diary." An interpretation is that either he knew Eva, or is a ghoulish embodiment of Eva or her child, as noted by the name "Goole."

"Fire and blood and anguish." - What happens if they don't accept responsibilty, or similar to the war going to happen. List of 3.Quite chilling to the audience of 1945/46.

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Arthur Birling

"Unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable." - Dramatic irony is used. Symbolically the Titanic is destined to sink as are Birling's political ideas. Sinking of the ship suggests dangers of capitalism.

"A man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own." - Birling is taking an individualist, capitalist view, his lines here provide his general attitude towards life in that he only cares about himself, his family and his business.During this speech Goole arrives, timing is important in the play.

"It's exactly the same port as your father gets." - Wants to work his way into higher social circles. aware of his social superiors.

"I've got to cover this up as soon as I can." - Worried about the threat of a scandal as it will ruin his reputation. Motivated by materialistic things. Selfish (Does not care about the death of Eva.)

"Look Inspector, I'd give thousands...." - Birling thinks he can fix anything with money, although it's a meaningless offer as he won't give her a few extra shillings when she was alive.

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Sybil Birling

"Girls of that class." - She looks down on the lower classes, which shows modern readers what life was like for the working class. Priestley hated this attitude towards them.

"When you're married you'll realise that men with important work to do have to spend nearly all their time and energy on business." - Possibly from her experience of her marriage with Arthur, shows how women were inferior to men in this era.

".. One of the things that prejudiced me against her case." - Narrow sense of morality dictates that the father of the child should be responsible for the welfare, regardless of the causes.

"Her husbands social superior." - Unusual for women of that time to be a higher class to their husbands. She is a woman of public influence.

"If you think you can bring any pressure to bear upon me, Inspector, you're quite mistaken." - Tries to intimidate the Inspector. Unsympathetic and does not accept responsibility.

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Sheila Birling

"I'd persuade mother to colse our account with them." - Uses her power and status to be manipulative and act superior to Eva as a working class citizen.

"But they're not cheap labour, they're people!" - She matures throughout the play and feels guilty that the working class are looked down upon. Her attitude to life changes

"Pretend that nothing much has happened." "It frightens me the way you talk." - Sheila is seeing her parents in a new unfavourable light and can't understand how they haven't learnt anything.

"Why-you fool-he knows. Of course he knows. And I hate to think how much he knows that we don't know yet. You'll see. You'll see." - Wants to learn more from the Inspector and tells characters and audience that more will be shown. She turns hysterical suggesting the Inspector has an influence on her, like 'supernatural.' 

"I'll never, never do it again." - Emphasis on never to prove that she won't. Wants to change her ways, shows the audience that the younger generation can improve. May be able to escape the [new] Inspector that's on their way at the end of the play.

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Eric Birling

"We did her in all right." - Not interested in his parents efforts to cover everything up, as far as he's concerned the important thing is that she's dead and that's all.

"Oh- my God! - how stupid it all is!" - Horrified that his actions have such dire consequences. Feels guilt and frustration. He's grown up at the end of the play. Eric is clear on the message the Inspector has given them. 

"It's the same rotten story whether it's been told to a police inspector or someone else." - He accepts the lesson and like Sheila shows the younger generation has hope. He knows that they all did something wrong and they can't change it.

"The fact remains that I did what I did." - He's ashamed of his behaviour and because of this the audience are more likely to forgive him

"(Sybil) You stole money!" - For a good cause, he is the most socially aware Birling.

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Gerald Croft

"Any man would've loved that feeling (of love.)" - He did show some affection for her, so is more likely to be forgiven. His kind and generous side is shown in the relationship, the Inspector did have some respect for him for treating Daisy positively.

"You seem to be a nice well behaved family." - Ironic how the Birlings are the opposite. Gerald links to social class and is very polite.

"We've been had." - Finds out the Inspector is a fraud, probably to protect his own interests. He thinks this makes all the difference and he has not learned his lesson. Puts his efforts into defending himself rather than trying to change his ways.

"Half-drunk and goggle-eyed." - Isn't very pleasant in describing Meggarty, who was 'trapping' Daisy. This could show his affection towards her.

"Hard-eyed, dough-faced women." - Emphasises how pretty and vulnerable Daisy was in comparison to the other women in the palace.

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