Character Analysis of An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestly

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Character Analysis of An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestly

J.B. Priestly was born in Bradford on 13th September 1894. He had

wanted to write ever since he turned 16. When war broke out in 1914

Priestly joined the infantry aged 20. He left the army in 1919 after

serving front line service in France and nearly being killed. These

experiences influenced the way in which he wrote.

After leaving the army he got a place at Cambridge University, but in

1921 he left for London with his newly wed wife. His first novel was

called 'The good companions' which he wrote in 1929, he wrote many

other books including 'An inspector calls' which he wrote in 1934 but

was set in 1912. In 1927 the queen made him a member of the 'order of

merit', which he enjoyed until his death in 1984 aged 89.

Inspector calls is about the Birling family and its guest Gerald Croft

who are visited by an inspector Goole, who brings news of the death of

Eva Smith. Inspector Goole establishes each of the other characters

involvement in her death, which makes the audience want to know 'who

done it', because they have the desire to find out who, ultimately,

was responsible for driving Eva Smith to suicide. There are many

skilful climaxes in the play, which helps to keep the audience

attentive and interested in the play.

There are many characters in the play of which I will make a detailed

analysis of just 2 characters, Arthur and Sheila Birling. I will look

at how and why each character changes as a result of the events in the


At the beginning of the play we can see that Arthur is very fond of

himself and likes to show off about being upper class. For example the

first thing he says is to Gerald "You ought to like this port, Gerald.

As a matter of fact, Finchley told me it's exactly the same port as

your father gets from him". This shows the Arthur is very fond of
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