Links between Priestley's life and. 'An Inspector Calls'. ✓Priestley lived through the period that he explores in his play, including the time alluded to. 'An Inspector Calls' by J.B.. Priestley – Revision Guide. What to do in the exam: 1. Answer the extract question on the text - 20 minutes. 2. Choose one of the. J. B. Priestley. AN INSPECTOR. CALLS. EDITED AND ILLUSTRATED BY. Ruth Benton Blackmore. Hodder Murray. A MEMBER OF THE HODDER HEADLINE.
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CALLS. BY J.B. PRIESTLEY AN INSPECTOR CALLS is subject to payment of a royalty. territories, possessions and Canada for AN INSPECTOR CALLS are. as a whole. J.B. Priestly was a socialist. Capitalism. Capitalism is a system of economics based on the private ownership of capital and production inputs, and on. An Inspector Calls. By J. B. PBIESTLEY AN lxspscron Cer"r.s is the second of Priestley's interesting presented by the Extracts frctn forettaril by J. B. Priestley.
They may not have killed her, but through action — and inaction — they all played a role in the events that led to her death. Arthur dismissed her from her job at his mill, Sheila contrived to have her fired from her new post in a department store, both Gerald and Eric slept with her and Sybil denied her charity when she came to her in desperation. After Goole departs, Birling becomes suspicious and calls the chief constable. He discovers that there is no Inspector Goole and there have been no recent suicides. The ending twists things further, concluding with a phone call to the Birlings telling them that the police are on their way to talk to them about the death of a young woman in a suspected case of suicide. An Inspector Calls is scathing in its criticism of middle-class hypocrisy.
Sheila then enters the room and is drawn into the discussion. After prompting from Goole, she admits to recognising Eva as well. She confesses that Eva served her in a department store, Milwards, and Sheila contrived to have her fired for an imagined slight.
She admits that Eva's behaviour had been blameless and that the firing was motivated solely by Sheila's jealousy and spite towards a pretty working-class woman. Sybil enters the room and Goole continues his interrogation, revealing that Eva was also known as Daisy Renton. Gerald starts at the mention of the name and Sheila becomes suspicious. Gerald admits that he met a woman by that name in the Palace Bar.
He gave her money and arranged to see her again. Goole reveals that Gerald had installed Eva as his mistress, and gave her money and promises of continued support before ending the relationship. Arthur and Sybil are horrified.
An ashamed Gerald exits the room. Sheila acknowledges his nature and credits him for speaking truthfully but also signals that their engagement is over. After Gerald returns, Sheila hands the ring, which Gerald had given her earlier in the evening, back to him. Goole identifies Sybil as the head of a women's charity to which Eva had turned for help.
Despite Sybil's haughty responses, she eventually admits that Eva, pregnant and destitute, had asked the committee for financial aid.
Sybil had convinced the committee that the girl was a liar and that her application should be denied. Despite vigorous cross-examination from Goole, Sybil denies any wrongdoing.
Sheila begs her mother not to continue, but Goole plays his final card, making Sybil declare that the "drunken young man" who had made Eva pregnant should give a "public confession, accepting all the blame". When Eva realised that the money had been stolen, she refused it. Arthur and Sybil are outraged by Eric's actions, and the evening dissolves into angry recriminations. Goole's questioning reveals that each member of the family had contributed to Eva's despondency and suicide. He reminds the Birlings that actions have consequences and that all people are intertwined in one society.
As Goole leaves he warns that "If men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish" — an allusion to the impending First World War. Gerald returns, telling the family that there may be no "Inspector Goole" on the police force.
Arthur makes a call to the chief constable , who confirms this. Gerald points out that as Goole was lying about being a policeman, Eva Smith may not have committed suicide or even have existed. Placing a second call this time to the local infirmary , Gerald determines that no recent cases of suicide have been reported.
The elder Birlings and Gerald celebrate, with Arthur dismissing the evening's events as "moonshine" and "bluffing". The younger Birlings, however, still realise the error of their ways and promise to change.
Gerald is keen to resume his engagement to Sheila, but she is reluctant, since he still admitted to having had an affair. The play ends with a telephone call, taken by Arthur, who reports that a young woman has died, a suspected case of suicide by disinfectant , and that the local police are on their way to question the Birlings.
The true identity of Goole is never explained, but it is clear that the family's confessions over the course of the evening are true, and that they will be disgraced publicly if news of their involvement in Eva's demise is revealed. Both during and after his interrogation of the family, the Birlings query whether he is actually a real inspector, and a phone call made by Mr.
Birling to the local police station reveals that there is no Inspector Goole in the local police force. Many critics and audiences have interpreted Goole's role as an "avenging angel" or a supernatural being because of his unexplained omniscience, his prophetic final speech in which he says that humanity will learn its lesson in "fire and blood and anguish" referring to the First World War , two years after the setting of the play  and even because of his name, which is a homophone for the word " ghoul " meaning "ghost" and is also the name of a Yorkshire Industrial town.
It is suggested in the final scene that Goole's interrogation of the family will foreshadow a further interrogation to follow by the "real" police force, and that Goole's purpose has been to warn the family in advance and encourage them to accept responsibility and repent for their bad behaviour, like The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Goole also forces the characters to question their very own lives, and if the ones they were living were true. In addition, he also feels a responsibility to make the Birling family feel guilty for their actions. His identity remains ambiguous throughout the play. Through reports from other characters, she is described as "pretty" with soft brown hair and big dark eyes, and it is explained that she has no family and must work for her living.
Her beauty is commented on by all the characters. Her beauty attracts both Gerald and Eric to her, with Eric sexually exploiting her. Sheila comments disparagingly that Eva looked prettier when she wore a certain dress than Sheila did herself, and seems threatened by Eva's beauty, confessing that if Eva had been plain she would have been unlikely to have had her fired.
So we can deduce that much of Goole says is actually what Priestley believes 2. We get the impression that there is no warmth to her character and therefore it is difficult to like her. She thinks highly of herself and looks down upon the lower classes.
It reveals when she was talking about Eva Smith. She also thinks the lowest of the lower class especially their women. Unlike the other three, I did nothing I'm ashamed of or that won't bear investigation.
The girl asked for assistance. We were asked to look carefully into the claims made upon us. I wasn't satisfied with the girl's claim — she seemed to me not a good case — and so I used my influence to have it refused. And in spite of what's happened to the girl since, I consider I did my duty.
So if I prefer not to discuss it any further, you have no power to make me change my mind.
Simply because I've done nothing wrong — and you know it. Sybil Birling put the blames on others. And please remember before you start accusing me of anything again that it wasn't I who had her turned out of her employment — which probably began it all.
Mrs Birling: first, the girl herself.
Mrs Birling: secondly, I blame the young man who was the father of the child she was going to have. If, as she said, he didn't belong to her class, and was some drunken young idler, then that's all the more reason why he shouldn't escape. He should be made an example of. If the girl's death is due to anybody, then it's due to him.
Mrs Birling: then he'd be entirely responsible — because the girl wouldn't have come to us, and have been refused assistance, if it hadn't been for him- Inspector: so he's the chief culprit anyhow. Mrs Birling: certainly. Sybil Birling is ignorance. You know him, Gerald -and you're a man — you must know it isn't true. Again when she heard about the notorious Aldermand Meggarty.
Birling: cutting in there's no need to be disgusting. And surely you don't mean Alderman Meggarty? Birling: staggered well, really! Aldermand Meggarty! Arthur Birling[ edit ] Arthur Birling is described as "a heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties", husband of Sybil, and father of Sheila and Eric Birling.
He represents the capitalist ruling class, repeatedly describing himself with pride as a "hard-headed businessman", and the head of a patriarchal family structure, and is arguably the main subject of Priestley's social critique. He describes himself and his family as an upper-class family.
Dominant, arrogant, self-centred, and morally blind, he is insistent throughout about his lack of responsibility for Eva's death and quotes his economic justification for firing her as being the importance of keeping his labour costs low and quelling dissent, which he says is standard business practice.
Although he is authoritative and has risen to a position of economic and social prominence, he inadvertently reveals his social rank to be lower than that of his wife's when he compliments the cook right at the start of the play, and by his continual need to assert his social importance.
His status as an alderman and former Lord Mayor of Brumley is repeated several times in the play, with increasing comical effect. Early in the play, he also makes a series of thoroughly-explained and justified predictions about the future world, all of which the audience knows will not come true, such as describing the Titanic as "unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable" and saying that "the Germans don't want war".
He also speaks to Gerald about his possible appearance on the next honours list, hoping to receive a knighthood. For this reason, he must avoid a scandal at all costs, in order to maintain a good public image.
He appears pleased at the economic and social cachet brought by his daughter's engagement to Gerald Croft, and resents Goole's intrusion on the family.
He remains unaffected by the details of Eva's death, and his own concerns appear to be retaining his social standing, avoiding public embarrassment by the leaking of such a scandal, insisting that Eric accounts for and repays the stolen company money and that Sheila should 're-consider' her relationship with Gerald in-order for him to maintain a promised Croft-Birling merger.
Arthur Birling married into his wealth and as such tries to act as if he is higher class than he is, as shown by his displeasure at how his chances at getting a knighthood had been ruined. This could also be another motive to ensure that Sheila and Gerald's marriage goes well. She is her husband's "social superior" and is keen to show him the correct etiquette that is expected from an upper middle-class family. She is also described as "a rather cold woman" and "about fifty". As the leader of a women's charitable organisation, she assumes a social and moral superiority over Inspector Goole, whose questioning style she frequently refers to as "impertinent" and "offensive".
Like her husband, she refuses to accept responsibility for the death of Eva Smith, and seems more concerned with maintaining the family's reputation, even going so far as to lie and deny recognition of the photograph of Eva. She fearlessly expresses her prejudices against working-class women, like Eva, whom she accuses of being immoral, dishonest, and greedy. It is Eva's use of the assumed name "Birling" that makes Sybil turn her away from her charity and she doesn't see why she did this until it is too late.
Also, she seems detached from the rest of the family as she does not realise Eric's alcoholic problem either she is blind to it or fails to accept it and still insists on unsuccessfully covering it up around the Inspector.
She is around years-old, as mentioned in the pre-play stage directions, highlighting she belongs to the older generation. Sheila Birling[ edit ] Sheila is the Birlings' youngest child. She is described as "pleased with life" and delighted about her engagement to Gerald Croft. She starts out as a naive, self-centred girl.
She also knows of Erics' heavy drinking. Throughout the play, she becomes the most sympathetic family member, showing remorse upon hearing the news of her part in Eva Smiths' downfall, and attempting to encourage the family to accept responsibility for their part in Eva's death.
Despite continual criticism from her father, she becomes more rebellious toward her parents, supporting her brother against them and assisting Goole in his interrogations. At the end of the play, Sheila is much wiser. She can now judge her parents and Gerald from a new perspective, but the greatest change has been in herself: her social conscience has been awakened and she is aware of her responsibilities.
The Sheila who had a girl dismissed from her job for a trivial reason has given way to one who acknowledges the wrongdoing of herself, and her family. She represents the younger generation's break from the exploitive behaviour of her class. Eric Birling[ edit ] He is the Birlings' older child, often presented as awkward and embarrassed. Eric is revealed to have made Eva Smith pregnant as well as to have stolen some money from his father's business to support Eva although she refuses the money once she knows it is stolen.
An alcoholic, his drinking habits are known by everyone except his mother who wants to think of him as a child, and not accept that he is no longer her innocent child but a grown man. After the Inspector leaves, he and Sheila are the only two who feel guilty over Eva's death. At the beginning of the play, Eric is shown as a rebellious young man who is very full of himself; however, towards the end of the play, his true personality is revealed. By the end of the story, Eric has learned his lesson and feels as guilty as Sheila does for his part in Eva Smith's death.
He feels as if he cannot talk to his family, especially his father, about his problems — "You are not the kind of father that a chap could go to when he's in trouble" — so he bottles them up inside himself. He is willing to take responsibility for Eva's death. Gerald is revealed to have known Eva and installed her as his mistress, becoming "the most important person in her life", before ending the relationship.
After the revelation of his affair, he is not blamed as heavily as the other characters Sheila commends him for his honesty and for initially showing Eva compassion, even though he is shown as cowardly and thoughtless for taking advantage of a vulnerable woman.
He is caused to confess as soon as he shouts out in shock at hearing the name he had known Eva by Daisy Renton , allowing the Inspector to investigate Gerald's involvement in Eva's life. Gerald believes that Goole is not a police inspector, that the family may not all be referring to the same woman, and that there may not be a body.