An Inspector Calls

  • Created by: Loci Pi
  • Created on: 28-03-18 12:51

An Inspector Calls Summary

  • The Birling family are hosting a dinner party to celebrate the engagement of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft.
  • While Mr Birling is talking, Inspector Goole arrives.
  • Inspector Goole is there to question the family on the suicide of a young woman, Eva Smith, who killed herself by swallowing disinfectant. Each member of the family is revealed to be partly responsible for her suicide.
  • The younger generation (Sheila, Eric, and Gerald) are feeling very guilty and responsible for the girl's death. The older generation (Mr and Mrs Birling), however, seem unaffected by the death and do not understand how their actions contributed towards it.
  • The Inspector gives a important speech about responsibility, which leaves a lasting impact on the younger generation who are experiencing the tragedy personally.
  • The family wonder about the impact of the evening's events. Mr Birling worries that the revelations will impact his business as well as his upcoming knighthood.
  • The family and Gerald begin to doubt whether Inspector Goole was a real police officer. A phone call to the police confirms their suspicions; there is no Inspector Goole in the police force. The family are shocked but slightly relieved.
  • The telephone rings and the family are informed that an inspector is on the way to question the family over a suicide. The plot is cyclical.
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Mr Birling quotes

Mr Birling describes himself as being a "Hard-headed practical of business". He owns a successful business and stands a chance for a Knighthood. He is from a more working class background than his wife and appears slightly embarrassed because of it by looking to prove himself as upper-middle class to people. Furthermore, he is very arrogant and seems to have outdated views regarding women and their appearances. As a capitalist, money is very important to Mr Birling and he consequently appears greedy at times.

  • "Absoloutly unsinkable" uses satire to mock and highlight Mr Birling's arrogance and stupidity. This is an example of dramatic irony because the audience know that he is wrong. Additionally, the Titanic could be an implicit metaphor for Mr Birling's capitalist views, where sinking represents how Inspector Goole later attempts to change his beliefs.
  • "Working together - for lower costs and higher prices" shows that Mr Birling is more concerned about money than his daughter's wedding, as a capitalist. He speaks seriously, suggesting he does not care about the consequences of "higher prices" on anybody.
  • "Make 'em look prettier" proves that he has old-fashioned views about women, as he objectified women and treated them as objects who need to look pretty. He thinks clothes are more important to women than men making him appear condescending towards women.
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