An Inspector Calls - Character Quotes: 36

"Arthur Birling is a heavy-looking, rather portentous man"
Quote for Mr Birling. The theme is greed. In the opening stage directions he is described as a large man, instantly giving us a prejudice that he over indulges and is greedy.
1 of 36
"And I speak to you as a hard headed businessman."
Quote for Mr Birling. The theme is Capitalism vs Socialism. Repetition of this line shows he thinks it is a vital attribute that defines him and believes it is why his opinion matters more than others.
2 of 36
"Finchley told me it's the exact same port your father gets from him."
Quote for Mr Birling. The theme is social class. The adjective "exact" shows how pedantic Birling is about copying the Croft family, trying to impress Gerald and appear on the same social class.
3 of 36
"When you marry you'll be marrying at a good time."
Quote for Birling. The theme is Capitalism vs Socialism. The dramatic irony makes Birling untrustworthy to the audience as they know that times ahead for these characters will not be a "good time".
4 of 36
"I really must protest-"
Quote for Birling. The theme is social class. Structural interruption from the Inspector. Ironic because just as he wouldn't allow Eva Smith to "protest" then, the Inspector is doing the same to him now.
5 of 36
"I've got to cover this up as soon as I can."
Quote for Birling. The theme is responsibility. Imperative verb makes it seem as if he is forced to do something which is clearly morally wrong. This shows he does not want to be held accountable for his responsibility.
6 of 36
“His wife is about fifty, a rather cold woman and her husband’s social superior.”
Quote for Mrs Birling. The theme is social class. In the opening stage directions she is defined by her social class/status, whereas the others it's more on their personality and appearance. Appears almost less human to the others.
7 of 36
"[quite out of key with the little scene that has just passed]"
Quote for Mrs Birling. The theme is Capitalism vs Socialism. The stage directions reveals the ignorance of this character and also the ignorance of Capitalists ideologies, which she embodies along with her husband.
8 of 36
"He's only a boy."
Quote for Mrs Birling. The theme is responsibility. The adjective "only" shows that she views her son with very little detail, only judging him upon his age. Making up excuses for her son shows that she is a bad mother.
9 of 36
"Tell cook from me"
Quote for Mrs Birling. The theme is gender. The imperative verb "tell" shows the power that Arthur possesses over her, showing that she fulfils her role as a traditional woman.
10 of 36
"I consider it my duty."
Quote for Mrs Birling. The theme is responsibility. The repetition of the word "duty" is through several characters, but it is clear that in Mrs Birling's case she only did what she did for her own selfish game.
11 of 36
“Silly boy! Where can he have gone to?”
Quote for Mrs Birling. The theme is generations. The noun "boy" is condescending as she doesn't refer to him with his name, shows she is dismissive to younger generation.
12 of 36
"[creates at once an impression of massiveness]"
Quote for the Inspector. The theme of Capitalism vs Socialism. The stage directions show that he is a powerful character but is quite small and passive. May represent the Socialist movement.
13 of 36
"...it should be brighter and harder.]"
Quote for the Inspector. The theme of responsibility. Opening stage directions convey imagery of the Inspector lighting up darker places of the stage, perhaps representing him exposing the darker parts of this family.
14 of 36
"So, where are you now Inspector?"
Quote for the Inspector. Characters begin to ask him questions instead of people such as Mr Birling, this shows that the Inspector is not only trustworthy but knowledgeable.
15 of 36
"It's my duty to ask questions."
Quote for the Inspector. The theme is social class. Short sentence is blunt which is strange for a lower class citizen to be like around families like the Birlings. Does not fit into ordinary social conventions.
16 of 36
"Mother!"
Quote for the Inspector. Exclamation shows her anger with her mother. The Inspectors presence causes internal conflicts between family members.
17 of 36
"There are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths."
Quote for the Inspector. Repetition of the word "millions" emphasises the problems in the world. Perhaps hyperbolic but a Socialist would have seen this much evil anyway.
18 of 36
Refers to parents as "mommy" and "daddy" - later on in the play she does not
Quote for Sheila. The theme is generations. This shows to the audience her childlike and youthful behaviour. highlights an element of innocence to the character which may draw her some sympathy from the others.
19 of 36
"[excited]"
Quote for Sheila. The theme is gender. The stage directions show that she is happy about having material possessions, shows she is the stereo - typical woman of the time.
20 of 36
"Oh I wish you hadn't told me."
Quote for Sheila. The theme is responsibility. The pronoun "me" shows how selfish she is about Eva's death at first, focused on how it makes her feel.
21 of 36
"[cutting in, as he hesitates]"
Quote for Sheila. The theme is responsibility. The stage directions mimic that of the Inspector's. Shows her growth as a character and her power and responsibility increasing.
22 of 36
"Don't please - I know, I know - and I can't stop thinking about it -"
Quote for Sheila. The theme is responsibility. Begins to feel guilty as the dashes in her speech show a breakdown within her, isn't able to form sentences well.
23 of 36
"No, it doesn't"
Quote for Sheila. The theme is generations. The short sentence is blunt and affirmative to her parents, shows her independence.
24 of 36
"You're squiffy"
Quote for Eric. The theme is responsibility. The verb "squiffy" suggests he has a lack of control over himself.
25 of 36
"You're not the kind of father a chap can go to"
Quote for Eric. The theme is responsibility. Criticising his family for not raising him correctly, lots of his problems spawned from this sense of neglect.
26 of 36
"my child"
Quote for Eric. The theme is responsibility. Feel sympathetic for Eric due to the possessive pronoun. Probably the most emotive line in the play.
27 of 36
"I'm not likely to forget."
Quote for Eric. The theme is responsibility. The verb "forget" shows how much this has hit him, he has faced up to his responsibility for Eva Smith. "Likely" does give an element that he might revert back to his old ways though.
28 of 36
"[Eric laughs rather hysterically, pointing at him]"
Quote for Eric. The theme is generations. Eric is shown to stand up to the older generation at the end through these stage directions.
29 of 36
"I call it tough luck"
Quote for Eric. The theme is generations. Stands up to his parents much earlier on. The adjective "tough" emphasises the cruelness that Eric believes his father gave to Eva Smith.
30 of 36
"I should say so!"
Quote for Gerald. The theme is social class. Mirrors a younger version of Mr Birling, agrees with him on many topics. Exclamation shows almost a passionate anger just like Birling.
31 of 36
"I was awfully busy at the works all that time."
Quote for Gerald. The theme is responsibility.The adverb "awfully" shows the extent of the lie he is telling to Sheila, as the audience becomes aware of it later.
32 of 36
"In that case - as I'm rather more - upset"
Quote for Gerald. They punctuation (hyphens) suggest a break down in speech, showing that the effects of his actions are taking a toll on the character. He begins to take responsibility which creates sympathy from the audience to the character.
33 of 36
"I don't dislike you...to know each other."
Quote for Gerald. The theme is gender. The long paragraph from Sheila to Gerald shows verbally to an audience that there is a power flip in the relationship, Sheila now dominates the conversation.
34 of 36
"you must understand a lot of young men-"
Quote for Gerald. The theme is social class. The verb "must" shows that Arthur Birling is desperate to defend Gerald, even after his darker secret has been revealed. Obviously this is due to his social standings and the respect people have for it.
35 of 36
"[slowly] That man wasn't a police officer"
Quote for Gerald. The theme is responsibility. He is hesitant but he begins to reject the Inspector's message. House is a prison, society infects. Shows that not everyone can change.
36 of 36

Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

"And I speak to you as a hard headed businessman."

Back

Quote for Mr Birling. The theme is Capitalism vs Socialism. Repetition of this line shows he thinks it is a vital attribute that defines him and believes it is why his opinion matters more than others.

Card 3

Front

"Finchley told me it's the exact same port your father gets from him."

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

"When you marry you'll be marrying at a good time."

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

"I really must protest-"

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
View more cards

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