Eric: An Inspector Calls


Eric: Priestley's Message

  • Conveys how the upper class abused their power over the working class (treated Eva Smith ‘as if she were an animal, a thing, not a person.’
  • He represents (with Sheila) the younger generation – Priestley saw them as ‘more impressionable’ – after all, they were the future.
  • He was part of the ‘chain of events’, having a fling with Eva Smith and getting her pregnant. He treated her ‘as if she were an animal, a thing, not a person.’ At the start of the play, he was just like the others – abusing his power over a working class girl.
  • However, he accepts responsibility, and like Sheila, feels very guilty about what he did. He is ashamed of his behaviour and shows that he is capable of changing for the better. ‘The fact remains that I did what I did.’ Therefore, the audience is more likely to forgive him.
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Eric: Key Quotes, Act 1

Eric is in his early twenties, not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive.

'We'll drink their health and have done with it'

'Steady the buffs'

'What about war?'

'You'd think a girl had never had any clothes before she gets married. Women are potty about 'em'

'Somebody at the front door'

'Yes, you've piled it on a bit tonight, father'

'Here, what do you mean?'

'(involuntarily) My God!'- shocked

'Is that why she commited suicide? When was this father?'

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Eric: Key Quotes, Act 1, part 2

'And as you were saying, Dad, a man has to look after himself-'

'He could. He could have kept her on instead of throwing her out. I call it tough luck.'

'(bursting out) Well, I think it's a dam shame'

'And I don't see why she should have been sacked just because she'd a bit more spirit than the others'

'That might have started it'

'Why shouldn't they try for higher wages?'

'Can't blame her'

'(suddenly bursting out) Look here, I've had enough of this'

'My God, it's a bit thick, when you come to think of it-'

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Eric: Key Quotes, Act 3

Eric uses euphamistic language as he doesn't want to take responsibility for what he did

'You know, don't you?'

'(bitterly) You haven't made it any easier for me have you, Mother?'

'You told her. Why you little sneak'

'(miserably) Could I have a drink first?'

'I was a bit squiffy'

'But afterwards she told me she didn't want me to go in, but that well, I was in that state where a chap easily turns nasty- and I threatened to make a row'

'And that's when it happened'- euphamistic language instead of saying ****

'I wasn't in love with her or anything- but I liked her- she was pretty and a good sport'

'I hate these fat old tarts round the town' 

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Eric: Key Quotes, Act 3, part 2

'She didn't want me to marry her. Said I didn't love her'

'In a way she treated me- as if I was a kid'

'And she had no momey left- so I insisted on giving her enough money to keep her going' 

'(miserably) I got it from the office' 

'I intended to pay it back'

'Because you're not the kind of father a chap could go to when he's in trouble'

'Then- you killed her'

'She came to you to protect me- and you turned her away- yes and you killed her- and the child she'd have had too- my child- your own grandchild- you've killed them both- damn you, damn you-'

'(almost threatening her) You don't understand anything. You never did. You never even tried- you-'

'My God, I'm not likely to forget'

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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 3, part 3

'Oh- for God's sake! What does it matter now whether they give you a knighthood or not?'

'Well, I don't blame you. But don't forget I'm ashamed of you as well- yes both of you'

'You told us that a man has to make his own way, look after himself and mind his own business'

'We weren't to take notice of these cranks who tell us that everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we are all mixed up together' 

'Well I didn't notice you standing up to him'

'You're beginning to pretend now that nothing's really happened at all'

'This girls still dead, isn't she? Nobody's brought her to life, have they?'

'And I say the girl's dead and we all helped to kill her'

'I don't give a damn now whether I stay here or not'

'How can it? The girl's dead, isn't she?

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Sheila: Key Quotes, Act 3, part 4

'The one I knew is dead'

'And I agree with Sheila. It frightens me too'

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