An Inspector Calls - Write fully about one of the characters in the play.

  • Length: 1739 words (5 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

An Inspector Calls - Write fully about one of the characters in the play.

Write fully about one of the characters in the play. Take into account
what they have done before the play begins as well as their actions,
words and attitudes during the course of the play. Write about the way
attitudes, moods and opinions change and develop during the course of
the action on the stage.

An Inspector Calls is a play with many social and political messages.
J. B. Priestley believed a great deal in socialism and he used several
of his plays to try and influence people to his way of thinking. It
was written in a time when Britain was ruled by a Labour government
and socialist policies were seen as the way forward. It was a popular
way of thinking at that time so Priestley's aim for the play was
probably to teach the unconvinced.

The play is set in the house of the Birling family. As soon as the
curtains open, it is clear that the family is wealthy because there is
high quality furniture and decoration in the house in which the play
is set. The family use their house as a status symbol and have
decorated it in a way so as to reflect their wealth. We learn this
from the "few imposing but tasteless pictures" which will probably
have been chosen because they were expensive, not because they were
liked. These pictures also tell us that the Birlings are proud of
their wealth and think themselves to be very important but lack the
good taste which is present in those who are socially superior to
them. The house is described as being "substantial and comfortable and
old-fashioned, but not cosy and homelike." This setting suggests that
the family are uncomfortable with each other and therefore suggests
problems. We gather from the Birling family they are of an
upper-middle social class, who think themselves to be of a very high

Eric Birling the character I am going to focus on does not seem to be
understood by the rest of the characters. His sister Sheila and he are
still treated as if they were still children "What an expression,
Sheila! Really the things you girls pick up these days!" Mr and Mrs
Birling have a lack of understanding of the younger generation,
particularly their offspring. They try to control their lives as this
was the norm with generations prior to theirs, "Just let me finish,
Eric. You've a lot to learn yet." Here we can see that the elders in
the family have the first and last say in many matters.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"An Inspector Calls - Write fully about one of the characters in the play.." 24 Jun 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Examining Who is Responsible for Eva's Death in Priestly's Play, An Inspector Calls - The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ is set in the North Midlands, the industrial city of Brumley in 1912. The play revolves around the death of a young girl named Eva Smith and the wealthy, middle class Birling family. The Birling family consists of four main members. In addition, there is Gerald Croft who is engaged to the daughter of the family, Sheila Birling, and the maid Edna who plays a small role in the play. Throughout Priestley’s play, ‘An inspector calls’, a main theme runs about responsibility and differentiation between classes....   [tags: An Inspector Calls, Literary Analysis] 1136 words
(3.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Characters of An Inspector Calls Essay - Characters of An Inspector Calls The inspector arrives at the Birling's house in the evening, during a family get-together to celebrate the engagement of their daughter to Gerald Croft. The inspector questions every member of the family individually, starting with Mr. Birling. Mr & Mrs Birling who do not like the way the inspector is interrogating them, get angry with him, and accuse him of being rude. However Sheila, Mr & Mrs Birling's daughter, and Gerald are honest, and can face their mistakes....   [tags: An Inspector Calls J.B. Priestley Essays] 1285 words
(3.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Classism in "An Inspector Calls" Essays - Although the author’s intention is to entertain the audience just like every play would, however he also isn’t just entertaining the audience because his intention shows that he is more interested in showing the audience about the structure of the class system. The play is set at the turn of the century and is centered on a wealthy family who are successful and prosperous at a time of poverty for many. They are oblivious to this, and given the fact that the play was written many years later the play contains much irony about the future, but not only does it make it question our history but also our future....   [tags: An Inspector Calls, J.B Priestley, ] 1822 words
(5.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The Theme of 'No Man is an Island' Illustrated in Priestly's An Inspector Calls - The play “An Inspector Calls” makes us realize that the philosophy “no man is an island” (John Donne) is a lesson that we should learn. It means that no-one should isolate themselves and that if a person dies etc. then the lives of others are seriously altered. “An Inspector Calls” by J.B. Priestly gets this view across. The main plot involves the Birling family and the girl’s fiancé celebrating when a mysterious inspector turns up and asks some questions about a girl’s suicide. It turns out they are all, in some way, involved in her death....   [tags: An Inspector Calls] 847 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Character of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls Essay - Analyse the character of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley. Discuss his: * Role in the play * Effect on the other characters * Stage presence When the Inspector first knocks on the front door, it is dramatic irony because Arthur just said a matter of seconds before of how he ‘might get a knighthood if we don’t get into any sort of trouble’. This is a very significant time of entering, similar to knocking over a tower of Jenga – everything one has hoped for has just evaporated into thin air....   [tags: An Inspector Calls] 2561 words
(7.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Role of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls Essay examples - The Role of the Inspector in 'An Inspector Calls' An Inspector Calls is a play with many social and political messages. J. B. Priestley believed a great deal in socialism and he used several of his plays to try and influence people to be Socialist as well. It was written in a time when Britain was ruled by a Labour government and socialist policies were seen as the way forward. It was a popular way of thinking at that time so Priestley's aim for the play was probably to teach the unconvinced. The Inspector in J....   [tags: An Inspector Calls] 4709 words
(13.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley Essay - An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley An Inspector Calls, by J.B. Priestly, is the story of the visit by an Inspector to an apparently normal family, the Birlings. They are celebrating Sheila Birling's engagement to Gerald Croft, who is also present, when the Inspector arrives telling them of the suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. At first they deny any knowledge of the girl, but as the play goes on the Inspector manages to show that they all helped kill her. Mr Birling had her dismissed from his factory for demanding a small increase in wages; Sheila ordered her to be dismissed from her job in a shop simply because of her pride; Gerald Croft kept her as his mistress before leaving h...   [tags: Inspector Calls Priestley Essays] 5227 words
(14.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on J.B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls - J.B. Priestley's "An Inspector Calls" "An Inspector Calls" is a politics based detective play script written by John Bonyton Priestley, or better know as J.B Priestley. The play takes place in the wealthy Birtling's family dining room, a room of which has "good solid furniture of the period", "the general effect is substantial and heavily comfortable but not cosy and homelike." The family are celebrating their daughters engagement to Mr Gerald Croft, an upper class man, as are the Birling's in the play....   [tags: Priestley Inspector Calls Essays] 954 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley - "An Inspector Calls" by J.B. Priestley The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1945, which was just at the end of the Second World War. The play is set in 1912, just before the First World War. The play was set at this particular time so that J.B. Priestley could get his message across more clearly. The message was that we all have to take responsibility for our actions, which can have consequences. Another reason why this may be a ‘well made’ play is that J.B. Priestley gives hints to the audience at the beginning, which builds up excitement and interest....   [tags: Inspector Calls J.B. Priestley Essays] 1974 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Role of Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls - The Role of Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls    In the work, An Inspector Calls, Inspector Goole role has been a described as a staging device.  Yet, defining Inspector Goole as meerly a staging device implies that he is not a character in his own right but exists simply as a way of exploring the personalities and lives of other, more fully rounded, characters. While it is true that An Inspector Calls would not work without Inspector Goole's central role, it reduces him a little to refer to him as 'just' a staging device....   [tags: An Inspector Calls Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1202 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]

Eric, shows he is uncomfortable in his surrounding, even though he is
with the closest people around him he shows his uneasiness, "( who is
uneasy, sharply) Here, what do you mean?". His is very vigilant to
what people say, and worries whether people are talking about, perhaps
even laughing at him. He is said to be "half shy" and "half
assertive", we don't really know what to make of him. He is in an
"excitable, silly mood", and is acting suspiciously and seriously.

Eric is a heavy drinker, Sheila knows that he does drink but nobody
really knows to what extent. You can see Eric's familiarity with
"quick heavy drinking"; in the way he pours his whisky, this is when
the other family members notice it too. His drinking problem could be
due to the way his family and surrounding treat him. His dad seems to
regret paying for his schooling- particularly when Eric makes comments
that show sympathy for the workers instead of bosses, Mr Birling says
angrily: "It's about time you learnt to face a few responsibilities."

The revelation from the inspector about Eric's real social life and
what he had got up to has made the family aware of the fact that Eric
has been behaving in such an unruly manner. He sleeps with
prostitutes, and in the case of Eva Smith had got her pregnant. He has
also stolen money from the business, as he found he could not turn to
his father to support him in his time of need. He is continuously
treated as if he were insignificant, nothing he says is respected by
the family and his opinion is not valued like how it is with Gerald.

Eric was an alcoholic, who slept with prostitutes, which makes him the
villain -so to speak, but the audience is still led to sympathise with
him, as he is a victim within his family. As he has no relationship
with any body in his family, he resorts to drinking. Eric and Mr
Birling's "respectable" friends have also seen to go to these types of
bars, such as Alderman Meggarty. Gerald has also has done the same. As
they are wealthy businessmen nobody says anything, even though they
treat women badly.

Mr and Mrs Birling don't seem to care what there son has been up to
and the reasons for his behaviour, they are more concerned with
covering up a "scandal". "I'm absolutely ashamed of you", says his
mother who seems to care very little about her son. Eric doesn't have
many friends, that could help him out or relate to him, and his family
certainly aren't on his side. Sheila seems to care about him but
merely because he is in such a terrible mess.

His actions seem to be due to an isolated and unsupported childhood,
brought up by the rules and regulations of such type of family. He is
a product of a narrow-minded middle-class family, who don't appreciate
change or variation from the norm.

Eric in the frustration of the examining by the inspector and under
immense pressure from bring found out shows his true colours to his
family saying "You don't understand anything. You never did. You never
even tried".

He gets the readers sympathy as he and Sheila differ from the uncaring
and insensitive elders. He also seems to care more about the workers,
and wants to do something to improve their standards. Unlike the usual
businessman he cares about the people who work under the ruling body.
He ultimately wants attention and care from his parents, which he
doesn't receive.

During the play Eric alongside Sheila realise their mistakes, and
regret what they did. They wish they could put things right. We
sympathise with both characters as they have shown to have remorse
over their actions regarding Eva Smith. W e can hope that by
acknowledging their mistakes they can learn by them and help to make a
more fulfilling future for them.

After the Inspector is found to have been a fake, the Birling parents
and Gerald remain unaffected by the night's events. Sheila points out
that Birling doesn't "seem to have learnt anything." Once they realise
that there will be "no scandal" they try to turn a blind eye to the
problems that have been identified. They ignore Eric's drinking
problem and make little further mention of the fact that he stole a
great deal of money from the family business. They ignore these
problems because they are only interested in how they will look to
other people. If nobody knows about their problems, they need not
address them. This is proved when Birling says that there is a
"difference between a lot of stuff like this coming out in private and
a downright public scandal."

Sheila has changed her attitude about how to treat people and is
disgusted that her parents have not done the same: "it's you two who
are being childish - trying not to face the facts." Eric behaves much
the same as Sheila. He seems to have respect for her because he does
not directly argue with his parents about the way they are acting but
instead supports Sheila in what she says by saying "Sheila's right,"
and "I agree with Sheila." He and Sheila are both there to give us
hope for the future; the younger generation have better attitudes and
can improve society. As the Inspector said, children are "more

"You lot may be letting yourselves out nicely," Eric and Sheila do not
pretend that nothing has happened although the rest of the family,
would rather be over with the scandal. He regrets his actions, and
acknowledges that stealing the money was not a good idea. He is deeply
disturbed by the loss of Eva Smith due to their actions:

"Whoever that chap was, the fact remains that I did what I did. And
mother did what she did. And the rest of you did what you did to her.
It's still the same rotten story whether it's been told by a police
inspector or to somebody else. According to you I ought to feel a lot
better - I stole some money, Gerald, you might as well know - I don't
care let him know. The money's not the important thing. It's what
happened to the girl and what we did to her that matters. And I still
feel the same about it, and that's why I don't feel like sitting here
and having a nice cosy talk."

Although every single person is to blame, Eric seems to be the
guiltiest, and his wayward behaviour makes him the villain; it would
be easier to blame it all on him, so they do. He is showing regret for
his actions and saying that it's wrong to go about pretending as
though nothing has happened when clearly something has. He is trying
to make them see that they can change. We can only feel empathy for
this type of character, as although he seems to have caused the most
problems he regrets his actions and wants to try and change.

The play finishes with a telephone call from the police saying that "A
girl has just died.... after swallowing some disinfectant" and a real
Inspector will question the family. This is an unexpected twist. The
fake Inspector was there to punish them on a moral level and to try
and make them feel guilty enough to change their behaviour. This was
accomplished with Eric and Sheila, but not with the others. The only
thing that they would be affected by was a "public scandal," and the
real Inspector would ensure that that is what they would get. Without
this twist, it would seem that the Birling parents and Gerald would
escape unpunished.

Return to