Gcse English literature inspector calls

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  • Created by: luke
  • Created on: 14-04-13 11:56

Arthur Birling

•          Self centred: ‘A man has to make his own way.’

•           Obsessed with status.

•           ‘Hard-headed practical man of business.’

•           Has a high opinion of himself, Takes himself and family name seriously.

•           Stands for tradition and authority.

•           Irritable and impatient.

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Arthur Birling

  • At the start of the play Arthur is in control- in charge of everything, even the port.
  • As the play continues he slowly loses his power.
  • This starts when he cannot get the Inspector to respect him for his status- refuses the port, is not interested in golf or in Arthur’s career history.
  • He enters into a battle of wills against the Inspector and loses.
  • Arthur has a shallow response to a deep issue-focus is on his name not being ruined. Does notlearn from his experience. 
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Sheila Birling.

  • Act One- Perfect daughter:‘very pleased with life andrather excited.’
  • Spoilt, emotional, excitable.
  • Vain and jealous = Eva fired.
  • Moral, honest, accepts responsibility- has a conscience.
  • Different from the rest of her family ‘between us we killed her’.
  • Changes because of the Inspector- hands the ring back.
  • Becomes the Inspector- questions Gerald, forces him to tell the truth.
  • Similar to the Inspector, has knowledge/ suspicions which she keeps to herself- where Gerald was last summer.
  • Shows herself to be wise and not naïve, challenges her parents’ expectations and knowledge of her.
  • Throughout the play we watch her change from a child into an adult.
  • Appears genuinely remorseful and has learnt a lesson: ‘between us we killed her.


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Gerald Croft

  • Has a good future, is a good match for Sheila.
  • Tries to make himself out to be a victim of circumstance.
  • Insensitive, emotionally shallow and does not learn anything-similar to the parents.
  • Is on Arthur’s side- a younger generation version of Arthur.
  • Takes action against Inspector Goole, asks the passing police- man.
  • The Inspector is not as hard on Gerald as he is on the others-Gerald ‘had some affection for her and made her happy for a time.’
  • Daisy/ Eva did not blame him- ‘She didn’t blame me at all’ – allows the audience to feel the same?
  • It’s unclear why Gerald broke off his fling with Daisy friend returning from Canada after 6 months? Bored?
  • Similar to Arthur and Sybil-does not learn anything,expects to return back to normal- hands the ring back to Sheila.
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Sybil Birling

  • Snob- lower classes are inferior.
  • Successful wife- loyal to Arthur.
  • Failure as a mother- does not know her children.
  • Obsessed with etiquette.
  • Negative, stubborn and cold- hearted- has to be persuaded to drink port to toast Shelia.
  • Shows no remorse: ‘I did nothing I’m ashamed of.’
  • Uncooperative with the Inspector- sees him as ‘rude' and ‘impertinent’-he has interrupted a social occasion which she was managing.
  • She is easily trapped by the Inspector- plays on her obsession with rules and standards.
  • At the end of the play she is left unchanged, she only regrets not being able to ask the Inspector ‘a few questions.’
  • She has not listened and she has not learnt.

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Eric Birling

  • Ambiguous character from the start- ‘not quite at ease’, ‘half shy.’
  • Guilty secrets- drinking, pregnant,stolen money.
  • Irresponsible.
  • No one really knows him/ helps him/ loves him- father calls him ‘boy’, mother is ashamed of him,Sheila pities him, even Daisy treated him as a ‘kid’.
  • Puts family reputation at stake.
  • Is both villain and victim in the play-does not seem to have any friends, is isolated and unsupported.
  • Is the product of a narrow-minded, middle class family.
  • Gains the audience’s sympathy because he recognises his mistakes and takes responsibility for them. ‘You lot may be letting yourselves out nicely.’
  • Asserts himself: ‘You don’t understand anything. You never did. You never even tried.’
  • Parents care more about there not being a scandal than about Eric.


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Eva Smith/ Daisy Renton

  • Did she exist? Were they the same person?
  • All her jobs were taken from her.
  • Is a portrait of an ordinary, working class girl- ‘Smith’, common name.
  • Pretty- looks were her downfall, they got her noticed.
  • Has feelings and morals, these also get her noticed- Suicide, the ultimate sacrifice to her feelings?
  • Never seeks revenge- most moral of all characters.
  • The Inspector inflicts pain on the villains of her story for her- why he has been seen to be the spirit/ ghost of her child.
  • Inspector forces them to share the responsibility and guilt for her death.
  • Unanswered questions surround her- Was she real? was she the same girl? Did she die at the start of the play, or is she the dead girl at the end of the play?


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Inspector Goole

  • Controls the rate at which the revelations come out.
  • Creates an atmosphere of uncertainty-plays a power game which causes chaos.
  • Does not conform, exists outside of class boundaries. Behaves as though he is from a different world- no etiquette or taboo subjects.
  • Treats everyone the same- does not use class terms, calls Eva the ‘young woman.’
  • ‘Calls’ describes the Inspector’s visit- inaccurate,not casual or spontaneous, but single minded and calculating.
  • Passes judgement and reveals crimes- is both the judge and the police.
  • Uses language cleverly- answers his own questions/repeats a question if he does not like the answer.
  • Persistent- questions and then asks follow up questions.
  • Uses emotive language- Eva died in ‘misery and agony’ ‘burnt- out inside on a slab.’
  • Is an Inspector, philosopher and a social commentator.
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