an inspector calls - characters

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  • Created by: charlie
  • Created on: 11-04-13 22:39

Mr Arthur Birling

  • portentous man (a man to impress)
  • provincial in his speech (not 'with it' and narrow-minded)
  • proud of acheivements and boasts 
  • tries and fails to impress inspector
  • aware of social superiors- showing off to Eric 
  • likely to get knighted- moving up in social circles
  • happiest parties of his life- merging with Crofts ltd.
  • optimist- no war, hdramatic irony as there is- audience judge his judgement 
  • selfish- socialist ideas are 'nonsense'
  • no wrong with eva smith- looking after business interests
  • ACT II - worried that press will get hold of story 
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Mrs Sybil Birling

  • cold woman
  • husbands social superior 
  • snob- aware of differences between social classes
  • dismissive of Eva- 'Girls of that class'
  • least repspect for inspector 
  • sees Sheila and Eric as children and speaks patronisingly 
  • deny things and lie about not knowing Eva in the photo
  • admits being prejudice- but says it was here 'duty' to decline, as narrow sense of morality states fathers job to look after
  • in the end comes to terms with Erics drinking but still denies she did anything wrong and doesnt accept responsibility  
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Sheila Birling

  • "pleased with life and rather excited"
  • shown as naive but connotes contradiction: "last summer, when you never came near me"
  • never before considered workers conditions but shows compassion- already changing 
  • feels guilt
  • perceptive- realises gerald knew daisy from reaction 
  • first to question inspector- is he real? 
  • warns others- "he's giving us the rope- so that we'll hang ourselves"
  • curious- to hear about affair
  • growing maturity- respects his honesty 
  • angry (act III) at parents - "pretend that mothing much happened"
  • at the end she is much wiser- judge parents and gerald from new perspective 
  • awakened social conscience and aware of resporsibilites 
  • taken everything on the chin and learnt 
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Eric Birling

  • "...not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive"(strong, determined)
  • start: emabarrassed and awkward- "eric suddenly guffaws" (nervous)
  • tension in eric's realtionship with father?
  • soon clear- eric is hardened drinker, gerald "i have gathered that he does drink pretty hard"
  • like sheila supports worker's cause- "why shouldnt they try for higher wages?"
  • guilt and frustration with relationship of girl
  • innate sense of responsability- got girl pregnant but gave her money and
  •  less worried about stealing over her future- most socailly aware out of family?
  • appallled by parents not admitting responsibility- "I'm ashamed of you"
  • Act III birling threatens but eric replies aggressively- now standing up to father
  • end is fully aware of his social responsibility and ignorant of parents childish lies
  • important thing is that she is dead 
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Gerald Croft

  • "...easy well-bred man-about-town."
  • aristocrat 
  • not as willing as sheila to admit- like Mr Birling wants to protect own interests
  • genuine feeling for daisy renton and sorry about her death 
  • act III contracdicts and tries to cover up- prove inspector is fake 
  • confirms that local police force have no inspector by the name of Goole
  • throw energies into 'protecting' himself not 'changing' (unlike Sheila)
  • end of play not changed- not gained new sense of social responsibility
  • makes Sheila unsure whether to take back engagement ring 
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Eva Smith

(only got information from Inspector and Birlings)

  • parents were dead
  • Gerald -"very pretty- soft brown hair and big dark eyes"
  • Mr Birling- "country-bred"
  • working class
  • Inspector- kept a dieary to help him piece together
  • Act III- wonder whether she is real- 
  • Gerald "We've no proof it was the same photograph and therefore no proof it was the same girl"
  • final phone call- maybe she did exist?
  • Eva similar to Eve, frst woman created by god 
  • Smith was most common english surname 
  • Eva Smith could represent every woman of her class
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Inspector Goole

  • entrance: creating "an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness"
  • disconcerting habit of looking hard at people(disturb composure)
  • works systemstically- piece info one at a time
  • Sheila: "he's giving us the rope- so that we'll hang ourselves"
  • figure of authority - "massively taking charge as disputes erupt between them" 
  • knows and understands extraordinary amount:
  • history of Eva Smith
  • knows things are going to happen, "i'm waiting... to do my duty"
  • great hurry towards end, "i havent much time"- does he know real inspector is going to arrive?

  • final speech like politicians- leaves family with a message about society
  • all mystery suggests inspector is not a 'real' person? 
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