- April, 1912. Brumley, a midlands town. The Birling family and Gerald Croft and enjoying a dinner to celebrate Sheila's engagement to Gerald.
- Arthur Birling, Sheila's father, is particularly pleased, since the marriage should mean close links with a rival company run by Gerald's father. He is optimistic about life in England - he sees peace, prosperity and progress.
- When the ladies leave the room, Birling lectures both his son, Eric, and Gerald about the importance of every man looking out for himself if he wants to get on in life.
- At this moment the doorbell rings. They are not expecting a visitor. The maid announces that an Inspector has arrived.
- Inspector Goole says that he is investigating the death of a young woman, Eva Smith.
- Birling is shown a photograph of Eva. He then remembers that he sacked her in 1910 for leading a pay strike. He feels justified in this action.
- The investigation moves on to Sheila. Sheila also had Eva sacked by complaining about Eva's manner when served by her…
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