Premium Essay

An Inspector Calls Character Notes

In: English and Literature

Submitted By browndynamite7
Words 1397
Pages 6
Mr Arthur Birling

He is described at the start as a "heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties but rather provincial in his speech." • He has worked his way up in the world and is proud of his achievements. He boasts about having been Mayor and tries (and fails) to impress the Inspector with his local standing and his influential friends. • However, he is aware of people who are his social superiors, which is why he shows off about the port to Gerald, "it's exactly the same port your father gets."He is proud that he is likely to be knighted, as that would move him even higher in social circles. • He claims the party "is one of the happiest nights of my life." This is not only because Sheila will be happy, but because a merger with Crofts Limited will be good for his business. • He is optimistic for the future and confident that there will not be a war. As the audience knows there will be a war, we begin to doubt Mr Birling's judgement. (If he is wrong about the war, what else will he be wrong about?) • He is extremely selfish: o He wants to protect himself and his family. He believes that socialist ideas that stress the importance of the community are "nonsense" and that "a man has to make his own way." o He wants to protect Birling and Co. He cannot see that he did anything wrong when he fired Eva Smith - he was just looking after his business interests. o He wants to protect his reputation. As the Inspector's investigations continue, his selfishness gets the better of him: he is worried about how the press will view the story in Act II, and accuses Sheila of disloyalty at the start of Act III. He wants to hide the fact that Eric stole money: "I've got to cover this up as soon as I can." • At the end of the play, he knows he has lost the chance of his knighthood, his reputation in…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Inspector Calls

...How does Priestley present Mr Birling in ‘An Inspector Calls’ J.B. Priestly presents Arthur Birling as a self obsessed, work oriented “hard-headed business man” in Act 1. The stage directions describe him as a “heavy-looking, rather portentous man” giving an impression that he looks rather threatening. He speaks formally, even around his family. He has worked hard to raise himself up the social ladder and is proud to think that he’s going to be knighted.  Even at his daughter’s engagement party, Birling only has a mind for business, and this is evidently shown when he says “Your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time now.... and now you’ve brought us together, and perhaps we may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing….” He also states that the party is “one of the happiest nights of my life” but this could have a double meaning for not only is Sheila getting married, but it can be seen as a business opportunity. Shelia marrying Gerald will help his social standing as well as his businesses. These quotes show that Birling is very work oriented and uses Sheila’s marriage for his own selfish reasons.   As well as being selfish, Birling is rather overconfident in his opinions. His mistaken view of the “unsinkable Titanic” is an example of dramatic irony. This is ironic as the Titanic actually sank but only the audience is aware of this. Another example of the use of dramatic irony is when Birling says “The......

Words: 479 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

An Inspector Calls

...An inspector calls notes * Written in 1945 set in 1912 * An inspector calls is one of J.B.P’s most popular plays * He believed people should be treated equally * In this play we see the awful behaviour of a rich middle class family * How this has lead to the death of Eva smith * They exploit the vulnerable girl * Play begins with an engagement party for Shelia and Gerald * Only the berlins are there. * Eric portrayed as quite childish * Mr B finds talking to 4 people hard Eric says “well don’t then.....” * This may mean Eric is bored of listening to Mr B’S speeches * Or he doesn’t value his father’s opinion * Mr B says “your just the type of son (in-law) I’ve always wanted * Does this imply that Mr B is disappointed in Eric? * Mr B not sensitive or tactful man * The first few pages of act 1 give us a clear indication that there is tension in the family * When Mr B gives speech talks about no wars we know this is wrong * Eric says “what about war?” seems to be more informed- politics, current affairs * Mr B patronizes Eric * Frequently interrupts him mid sentence * Mr B ignorant when comes to discussion and his business * Every prediction that this man makes does not come true * Audience then know how stupid he is * Does not value Eric’s opinion doesn’t even listen properly * Could Eric’s drink problem be related to relationship with his father? * not listened to ...

Words: 1476 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Inspector Calls

...play ‘An Inspector Calls”? Section 3 - Throughout this play JB Priestly has included a range of female characters in the play, from an upper class snob, through a mature daughter and a working class girl. However Eva Smith, the working class girl, was the only character who suffered the most because of her gender, she was treated differently by all character throughout the play. She had no value in society what so ever and we’ve seen this on many different occasions, firstly when Mr.Birling talks about her and quotes, “We were paying the usual rates and if they didn’t like those rates, they could go work somewhere else”, this quote informs us about Mr.Birling views on working class women, in the quote he is indirectly suggesting that he doesn’t need those women to work for him, ‘they could go work somewhere else”, he is basically implying that those women aren’t important for him, he doesn’t need them, if they don’t like what he does they can go work somewhere else, this also shows the lack of respect he has for those women. His tone of voice also tells us that he still doesn’t care or regret the fact the he sacked Eva from her job for asking for a raise. This is just one example of how lower class women were treated, but to think of it upper class women weren’t treated any better either. Even though they were upper class they only had a few more rights than the working class, only because they’re women, so gender does play an important part in the play ‘An Inspector......

Words: 740 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

An Inspector Calls

...and so the inspectors message in his final speech would have been particularly resonant the people watching at the time. He completely changes how the Birling’s (and Gerard) act and feel throughout the entire book. This puts him at the centre throughout the play even when he is left he still influences people in that he is all they talk about and just when they seem to have decided to forget about him (when they have decided it is all a wind up) they are reminded of him by the phone call which ends the book. This is perhaps a kind of sign that perhaps he is not a normal human being and some kind of spirit highlighted again by his the fact that he seems at times to be prophetic. This is again suggested by his name. He is inspector Goole a word very similar to the world ghoul a slightly less subtle reference to him being a kind of ghost. It certainly seems like an unlikely coincidence that the inspector would share the same name a spirit that for large parts of the book he reminds people of. But as well as meaning a kind of visionary spirit he resembles a ghoul in a much simpler way in that at times he does actually seem quite scary and certainly appears to chill the Birlings. In some films and plays as opposed to knocking on the door he simply kind of appears in the drawing room of the house having let himself in enhancing his slightly scary ghoulish characteristics. In fact he does immediately make an impression on both the audience and the characters......

Words: 784 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

An Inspector Calls

... The beginning of the extract, the characters are left "staring,  subdued and wondering" which shows a sense of mystery and confusion  within the family. They have been left in complete shock because of  the event that has just occured. In the stage directions it says that,  "Sheila is still quietly crying." This builds up the drama more and  proves to us that the situation has really affected her. We can see  this throughout the extract. She dislikes her father's comments. The  stage directions show us this and Priestley has written her comments  towards her parents to be angry and frustrated. Sheila is trying to  make her parents see that what they did to the girl was wrong. She  says, "I behaved badly too. I know I did. But now you're beginning all  over again to pretend that nothing much has happened." It is evident  here that she has been greatly affected by the girl's death and is  irratated by what her father has said to her. Priestley has written in  the stage directions that Sheila is "flaring up". Her anger is quickly  building up and she is frustrated because of her parents' ignorance.  At the beginning of the extract Priestley says that Eric is "brooding  desperately", showing that he is distressed and finding the situation  difficult and maybe thinking deeply about what has just happened. In  the stage directions Eric "laughs rather hysterically, pointing at  him". By insulting Birling, Eric is sure to provoke him and make him  angrier.......

Words: 1017 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

An Inspector Calls

...An Inspector Calls is a parable on the responsibility of the individual toward one’s fellow beings, and it succeeds in spite of its heavy-handed sermonizing. Arthur Birling and his family are celebrating their daughter Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft. This will also merge two corporate competitors, resulting in higher profits. Priestley relies on the audience’s knowledge of recent events to color Birling’s optimism with irony as he extols the wonders of the Titanic, which is about to set sail into a world that will avoid war. These ironies also foreshadow the impending disaster about to strike the Birlings when Inspector Goole unexpectedly arrives. True to his name, the inspector resembles a ghoul as he glares at the family, relentlessly repeating his message that a young woman has killed herself by drinking disinfectant. The details of the woman’s hideous and painful death are described repeatedly as Goole methodically reveals how each member of this respectable family was partly responsible for her untimely death. Birling fired her for requesting a small raise. In a spoiled rage, Sheila Birling insisted she be fired from her next job. After Croft had an affair with the girl, she picked up with a wild young man who left her alone and pregnant. Mrs. Birling used her influence to deny the girl charity, contending that the “unknown father” should be found. The drunken father is her own son, Eric. The inspector condemns them all for their part in this tragic......

Words: 412 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Inspector Calls

...Assessment, I will be analysing the performance of East is East. The key characters in the play were: Ayub Din Khan (George), Jane Horrocks (Ella) and Micheal Karim (Sajit). George (Ayub Din Khan) is the head of the Khan family, who tries to enforce his culture in a different society. He rose and grew throughout the play with is humour. I believe he is an obvious stereotype due to the clothing he wears. His clothing reflects that he is a typical, narrow-minded Pakistani father. His strong determination to help his family was evident throughout the play. Ella is the mother of 6 children, whose first priority is the happiness of her children. She is the wife of George who tries to keep the family together. Throughout the play, Ella delivers a fun and incredibly emotional scene with equal excellence. Sajit, the son of Ella is a vulnerable child and shows the impacts of the family problems through his quietness. The first thing I noticed was the set. The set was realistic and had different locations; living room, the Khan chippie, a hospital corridor, consultation room and outside spaces. This permits flexibility with the performance that helps immensely in illuminating the plays central themes – love, hatred, misunderstandings and cultural heritage. This worked well as the cast didn’t need to change the whole set by themselves; in fact they just moved around furniture. The way the characters entered and exited was effective because they used the performance......

Words: 488 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Time in an Inspector Calls

...How does Priestley use time as a dramatic device in ‘An Inspector Calls? An Inspector calls can be seen as one of Priestley’s ‘time’ plays because it explores the relationship between the past, present and future; some schools of thought have even suggested that the Inspector is some form of ‘cosmic time-lord’ or have compared him to ‘The ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’ from Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. At the beginning of the play, time is used to undermine Arthur Birling, as he makes a series of misplaced predictions about the future. This dramatic irony serves not only to belittle Birling, but to criticise the idea of capitalism, which he represents. The first audience to watch the play in 1946 would be well aware of his miscalculation when he states that the Titanic, a ship that sank in its maiden voyage in 1912, the same year that the play was set, was “absolutely unsinkable”. Time is also used to highlight the theme of contrast or opposition in the play. The Inspector enters the play just after Birling claims “that a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own”. Placing the Inspector's arrival here is a dramatic device, which challenges Mr Birling's capitalist views on society. In the exposition, we only really get a sense of the capitalist viewpoint, as Arthur Birling, due to the fact that he is head of the house, is allowed to spew his message unchallenged. The “sharp ring” on the door bell interrupts Birling’s speech on......

Words: 1206 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

An Inspector Calls - Inspector Goole and Sheila

...An Inspector Calls When we are first introduced to Inspector Goole, he gives us the impression of being a very imposing figure. We can see this with one of his first stage directions “(cutting through, massively)”. Not only does the inspector permit himself to interrupt Mr. Birling, who is an important figure in society, but also does so massively. By using this adverb, J.B. Priestley creates an overpowering, imposing, and important image of the inspector, also emphasizing the power that the inspector already has over Arthur Birling. Secondly, the inspector manages to contradict Birling’s orders, imposing his own rules in their house. When Arthur Birling tells Sheila to “run along”, the inspector imposes himself and says, “(n) o, wait a minute, Miss Birling.” Once again, this quote has connotations of authority and superiority, encouraging the reader to understand how much importance to give to this man. Knowing that, during the time the play was set in, women weren’t as respected as they are now, this quote could also be controversial. First of all, Inspector Goole disrespects Mr Birling, who is the man of the house, by making his own daughter disobey his rules. Furthermore he speaks politely to Sheila unlike her mother, who calls her a child (on p 185), and calls her Miss Birling, which is a sign of respect. Finally, when the Inspector, with the help of a stage direction, says “(impressively): I’m a police inspector, Miss Birling.” The use of this adverb brings a lot of......

Words: 1176 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Inspector Calls

...play, has a drinking problem. He has been drinking steadily for almost two years. He works at Birling and Company, and his father, we presume, is his boss. He is quite naive, in no way as worldly or as cunning as Gerald Croft. By the end of the play, like his sister, Eric becomes aware of his own responsiblities. Inspector Goole The Inspector "need not be a big man, but he creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness." He is in his fifties, and he is dressed in a plain dark suit. Priestley describes him as speaking "carefully, weightily ... and [he] has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before he speaks." He initially seems to be an ordinary Brumley police inspector, but (as his name might suggest) comes to seem something more ominous--perhaps even a supernatural being. The precise nature of his character is left ambiguous by Priestley, and it can be interpreted in various ways. Edna "The parlour maid." Her name is very similar to "Eva," and her presence onstage is a timely reminder of the presence of the lower classes, whom families like the Birlings unthinkingly keep in thrall. Eva Smith A girl who the Inspector claims worked for Birling and was fired, before working for Milwards and then being dismissed. She subsequently had relationships with Gerald Croft and then Eric Birling (by whom she became pregnant). Finally she turned to Mrs. Birling's charitable committeee for help, but she committed suicide two hours......

Words: 957 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

An Inspector Calls

...didn’t treat each other it respect. When Mr Birling asks where the fifty pounds came from, Eric denied that he took it from his MR Birlings office. When his father asks him why he didn’t just ask him for help, Eric replies that he’s not the “kind of father a chap could go to when he’s in trouble.” The Inspector leadingly asks Eric if the girl found out that his money had been stolen, and Eric says that she had and that she refused to see him afterward, but then he asks how the Inspector had known that. Eric turns to his mother to blame her for the girl’s suicide and begins to threaten her. The Inspector states that he does not need to know any more, and reminds the family that each member is responsible for the death of Eva Smith. He tells them to never forget it. Mr. Birling offers the Inspector a bribe of thousands of pounds, but the Inspector refuses it. The Inspector deduces a moral from the investigation—though Eva Smith has gone, there are millions and millions of Eva Smiths still alive, who have hopes and suffering and aspirations, and who are all implicated in what we think say and do. He insists that everyone is responsible for each other, and then walks out. The Inspector speaks in the vein of the people that Mr. Birling positioned himself against in the beginning of the play, strongly asserting the fundamental humanity of all people and therefore the responsibility of everyone for everyone. Sheila is left crying, Mrs. Birling is collapsed in a chair, Eric......

Words: 1670 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Inspector Calls

...An Inspector Calls By J.B Priestley In the play ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B Priestley, we see the importance seeing things for what they really are.  Many people are blind to certain things and later blame themselves for them.  Scam artists know this very well.  They lure people in by making them think something completely different of which the unsuspecting victims trust.  Then they strike, usually taking with them a large sum of money.  Leaving a very broken and hurt victim.  Sheila Birling lives a life of relaxation and does not worry about a lot.  She Thinks that what she sees is true and what she doesn’t is fine.  She lives not knowing who the people around her really are.  She still lacks the maturity of an adult. Sheila Birling is described at the start as "a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited."  Even though she seems very playful at the opening, we know that she has some suspicions about Gerald when she mentions "last summer, when you never came near me."  This could suggest that she is not as naive as first thought.   Sheila is not aware of most things her parents get up to, along with Gerald of whom she later finds out some disturbing news.  At the start of the play we see that she does not really understand how things work, all she knows is that they do.  But as the play goes on we watch her change, for the better? Throughout the play we watch as Sheila matures and grasps a hold of reality and actually sees whats......

Words: 622 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Role of the Inspector in an Inspector Calls

...The Role Of The Inspector In An Inspector Calls Length: 1393 words (4 double-spaced pages) Rating: Red (FREE) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - What is the role and function of the Inspector in An Inspector Calls? An Inspector Calls is a play with lots of political messages as well as social messages. J. B. Priestley believed in socialism and he used large amounts of his plays to try and convince 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 to be a good way to go. It was a common way of thinking at that time so Priestley's aim for the play was to influence the unconvinced in society. The Inspector, straight form his introduction, is commanding and authoritative. Upon his entrance he creates, “…at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness.”(PG.11) The Inspector continues to create this impression as he progresses through his speeches and through his interrogation of the family. The Inspector remains confident, sturdy and composed, while people around him crumble and fall to pieces. His ‘solidity’ is proven by the fact he remains on task despite numerous attempts from Birling to digress from the points he is making. The Inspector is told to appear ‘purposeful’; this is shown where he explains to Birling that Birlings way of thinking “Every man must only look out for himself,” is not the case, and all warps of......

Words: 1409 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Inspector Calls

...How does the character of Mr Birling reflect British society in 1912? The character of Mr. Birling is very important in 'An inspector calls' because he reflects how many upper class people (especially men) treated others in different classes. His character is vital to get across Priestley's socialist ideologies. Mr Birling also reflects the older generation, Capitalism and furthermore mirrors the division in society. Firstly, Mr. Birling exclaims how he is not "a purple-faced old man.", this suggests that most men of authority were greedy, only cared for themselves and had a lot of money to waste on things like excessive food. Secondly, we can see that Sheila and Gerald's engagement "means a tremendous lot to [Birling].", this is very similar to the society at that time as many people used others for their own personal gain. The engagement will help the Birling's business by raising their social class. Next, during this time period sexism towards woman was just every day life. Mr. Birling asks "Are you listening Sheila?", this reflects sexism within society as most men felt women weren't as intelligent as them so had to be spoken to in a simpler manner. Birling thinks it's "a very good time," for the engagement. This is an excellent example of dramatic irony as in 2 years time World War one was to begin. In 1912 people with authority were blind to the devastation that was to come, as was Mr. Birling. The character of Mr. Birling is an excellent......

Words: 350 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Inspector Calls

...‘An Inspector Calls’ was written in 1945 but was set in1912 by J.B Priestly. Priestley proposes equality. The Inspector speaks about them all being the same. ‘We are members of one body’. Priestley’s use of the word ‘body’ shows that we are all connected and linked. Everyone needs to work together.The Inspector wants to teach the Birling’s how to be more responsible and that money and class is not going to make you a better person and should change their attitudes towards the working class after he had spoken to them to change. In 1945 he wanted people to be equal and not be separated by rigid class or gender and boundaries for people to earn a more valued place in society. Priestley deliberately set his play in 1912 because the date represented an era when all was very different from the time he was writing. In 1912, rigid class and gender boundaries seemed to ensure that nothing would change. Yet by 1945, most of those class and gender divisions had been breached Priestley wanted to make the most of these changes. Through his play, he encourages people to seize the opportunity the end of the war had given them to build a better, more caring society where everyone felt responsible for each other. ‘An Inspector Calls’ is a morality play in which the playwright puts in his belief that people should treat one another equally and that there will be consequences to your actions. He also wants to teach the audience a lesson. Priestley uses dramatic devices throughout...

Words: 788 - Pages: 4