Inspector Calls Characters


Inspector Goole Quotes

"We hear a sharp ring of a front door bell. Birling stops to listen" - aurthority already being established. Dramatic and dangerous, his presence is felt. Man of "massiveness, solidarity and purposefulness [sd]" - dominates atmosphere, firm in his purpose.

"One person and one line of enquiry at a time. Otherwise there's a muddle" - Controlling and sufe of his authority. "One" establishes that he works alone, omniscient.

"Burnt her inside out" - Emotionally unattached, professional, blunt and factual.

"Do you remember her, Mr Birling?" - omniscience. He knows the story; isn't looking for answers, but acceptance. He is accusatory; highlighting unjust, morally wrong actions.

"And why did you do that?" - simple, one syllable words make it seem blatant that the family is to blame. 

Final speech provides Priestleys message: "if men will not learn that lesson they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish" "their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness"

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Mr Birling Quotes

"heavy-looking, rather pretentious man" - Only intimidating in appearance? Internally weak. Only "heavy-looking"; he is "pretentious". The solidity is a facade.

"a hard-headed practical man of business" - doesn't let sentiment get in the way of whatever needs to be done to succeed. Ruthless; ethics and morals are nonexistent to him. Certain and direct tone - intimidating.

"Yes, my dear, I know - I'm talking too much." - He likes to air his views and is aware that he tends to monopolise the conversation, suggesting he is arrogant and self-preserving.

"Unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable" - in reference to the Titanic which was yet to make it's Maiden voyage. The audience knows the Titanic sank; the constrast between fact and belief makes him seem ridiciulous and his views irrelevant. Naivety evident. (dramatic irony).

"I say there isn't a chance of war" - Mr Birling's views are again proved wrong. The play is set in 1912, just before the first world war. Just because Mr Birling is middle class and supposedly better opinionated, doesn't always make him right.

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Mrs Birling Quotes

"a rather cold woman" and "her husbands social superior" - Mrs Birling is not a friendly person and rarely shows any affection. Contradicts her own traditionalist views: where women should respect their husbands and be benevolent, she makes the social divide clear and seems heartless. The contradiction shows the stupidity in traditionalism.

"You're not the type - you don't get drunk" - she denies what she doesn't want to believe. Pretentious; proves that her arrogance is empty because, after seeing her son's mistakes, it is evident that there is no difference between classes. Everyone makes mistakes.

"She was claiming fine feelings[...]that were simply absurd for a girl in her position" - social divide is important to her. Claims that lower class women don't have feelings, and if they do they don't deserve to express them. 

"as if a girl of that sort would never refuse money" - "that sort" - She is stereotypical and unsympathetic; sees Eva Smith as a liar and a criminal (traits she assumes all lower class citizens have). Sarcasm and prejudice present.

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Sheila Quotes

"A pretty girl in her ealy twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited"

"She was very pretty and looked as if she could take care of herself. I couldn't be sorry for her." - Defends herself after her confession. Highlights the views she was brought up with, but also marks the changing in her mindset; her capitalist views make her look for excuses but the oncoming socialist mindset leads her to petty reasons; that she wasn't to blame because Eva was pretty.

"You not only knew her but you knew her very well." - Perceptive; after her interrogation, she changes and in a sense adopts the Inspector's character. Knows that everyone is to blame; becomes perceptive and sees through her family's translucency.

"No, he's giving us the rope - so that we'll hang ourselves." - Sheila acknowledges the Inspector's omniscience. Realises everyone is to blame, and by not accepting the blame they are digging their own graves. Superior to her family in the sense that the knowledge has hit her; she knows that her family have done wrong.

"I couldn't possibly go. Nothing could be worse for me." - Although bitter about Gerald's relationship with Daisy Renton, her curiosity needs to be satisfied and she stays to hear the full story. The satisfaction of knowing what killed Eva is only surface-deep. In reality, she wants to assure herself that she isn't the only one to blame. She stays to hear everyone's story so that her own mistakes don't seem so bad to her.

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Eric Quotes

"Well, don't do any. We'll drink their health and have done with it." - He is selfish and arrogant; orders his father in a childish way. He is uninterested and does not care to show anyone the courtesy to continue their speeches.

"Your trouble is - you've been spoilt" - Familial relationships with Eric are weak. He is disrespected and disregarded; no mutual respect between him and Birling because Birling insults him and blames Eric of taking advantage of his luxuries. 

"You told her. Why, you little sneak!" - Eric is an immature and childish character. His language emphasises this; he results to insulting, highlighting his helplessness and true powerlessness. He is completely weak and insecure. "You": he finds others to blame because he can't deal with disrespect. He has the arrogance of a child; needs to find solace in blaming others to reduce the blame on himself.

"Half shy, half assertive" - neurotic and unstable character. "Half" shows that he doesn't know himself; he is unsure and confused about his own character, highlighting his immaturity and lack of self-understanding. The contrast between shy and assertive emphasises his confusion and uneasiness. He is nervous, guilty and full of secrets.

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Gerald Quotes

"easy, well-bred young man-about-town" - Gerald gets on easily with people; self-confident and assured. Demonstrates an upper class front. He expects to be respected by others around the local area. He has not achieved his status, proving that he is nothing but a "young man-about-town". Spoilt, indulgent and unjustly arrogant. 

"My God! Sorry - I - well, I've suddenly realised - taken it in properly - that she's dead" - exclamation; realisation hits him and though he does not eventually end up taking responsibility he realises his mistakes. He shouts because he realises the extent of what has happened; the girl he was with on an intimate level is dead and gone due to him. Pauses show how he needs time to make sense of the situation.

"She was young and pretty and warm hearted - and intensely grateful" - "and": words spill out; he has so much to say about Eva because he was intimate with her. He knows her in a positive light, unlike Sheila, Mr&Mrs Birling. He knows her feelings and emotions. "intensely grateful" proves he also looks down on the lower class. He only knows how to give and help in terms of finance. 

"You're just the kind of son-in-law I always wanted" - he sees the engagement as bringing the two family businesses together. This shows the differences between how men and women felt in that time as it demonstrates how Sheila is looking forward to a loving relationship but the men are more concerned over possible business opportunities.

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Eva Smith/ Daisy Renton Quotes

"She'd had a lot to say - far too much - so she had to go" - She had spoken up for the other girls who were on strike and was showing leadership qualities against Mr Birling. Girls like Eva from the working class, in his opinion, shouldn't be confident and rebellious. Mr Birling felt threatened by the unexpected power that Eva had, leading to her being sacked.

"She was very pretty and looked as if she could take care of herself" - A strong character despite the prejudices that were against her. Sheila admits that she was pretty; her disguised compliment to Eva proves that the social divide was unnecessary. She was sturdy and stronger than Sheila, who, without her position in society would be powerless. Eva was wiser than her despite being of a lower class.

"Big dark eyes" - A mysterious character. No one cared to pay her attention until the interrogation; this is when the Birlings realise there is a lot more to her than being part of a lower class. "dark eyes" prove that she is knowledgeable and, despite her position, is wiser than most higher class people. 

"I insisted on giving her enough money to keep her going - until she refused to take any more" - shatters all stereotypes built by Mrs Birling. Despite being in need she did not take stolen money; she would rather suffer than have the guilt over her head. This is an action that induces humiliation for the upper class; despite being so low in social position her morals were higher than any of the Birlings. 

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