Snaith // An Inspector Calls - Characters


Mr Birling

Mr Birling is...

AMBITIOUS -             'There's a very good chance of a knighthood'
BUSINESS-MINDED - 'A hard-headed, practical man of business'
SELFISH -                  'A man has to make his own way'
ANXIOUS -                 'There'll be a public scandal - unless we're lucky' 

Mr Birling is responsible for Eva's death because he fired her from his works because she had feminist views, whereas he has very capitalist views. His use of statistics when trying to explain his views and justifying her death. In the end, when another Inspector calls, it is Priestly's way of saying that Mr Birling has not learnt from his mistakes. And that if you do not learn from them, they will tend to repeat themselves.

'Look after his own business, look after himself and his family.'
Use of syntax (the order of words in a sentence) shows that his business is more important than his family, showing he is self centered.

'You'll aplogise at once.'
Shows how he lacks authority but believes his wealth gives him it.

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Mr Birling

'You've had emough of that port Eric.'
Shows he's fine with Eric drinking but wants to keep up with appearances with the guest.

'Nothing much has happened.'
He doesn't care about the suicide of Eva Smith because she is of a lower class to him.

'I don't want any of that talk from you.'
This shows how he believes that he has authority over the police due to his wealth.

'A hard headed, practical man of business.'
Hard headed: Shows how doesn't let anything, not even his family, distract him from business.
Practical: Shows he makes rational decisions in his business.
Business: Shoes how his business comes first to keep his strong social status.

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Sheila Birling

Sheila is...
STRONG MINDED - 'I don't believe i will. So you be careful'
SHARP -                 'He's giving us the rope - so that we'll hang ourselves'
SELFISH -               'You used the pwer you had [...] to punish the girl'
MORAL -                 'But these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people'

Sheila is responsible for Eva Smith's death because she got jealous of Eva's looks when she looked better than her in a dress she wanted. because of this she went to the manager and she was fired from her job at Milwards.

'Perhaps it's because impertinant is such a silly word.'
Shows how Sheila is still part of the younger generation.

'Mother, do stop before it's too late.'
At that period of time she wouldn't have spoken like that to her mother beforehand, but is warning her mother of the consequences.
Do stop: Imperative verb.

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Sheila Birling

'I behaved badly too. I know I did. I'm ashamed of it.'
Taking responsibilty for her actions and accepting the consequencesof them whist regretting them.
Ashamed: Now in touch with reality.

'Oh - it's wonderful! Look Mummy - isn't it a beauty? Oh - darling -'
Out of touch with reality and her prioties are fumbled. This also show s how her character progresses, but also shows that she is selfish and naive.

'That's not what's important - and not whether a man is a police inspector or not.'
Shows her moral compass has changed, as well as her priorities.
Important: Headstrong.

'No, he's giving us the rope, so we'll hang ourselves.'
beginning to understand and be in touch with the reality of the situation, and begnning to get rid of her oblivion. She is beginning to form into a sharper, blunter, more headstrong person.

'But these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people.' 
Cheap Labour: Links to socail context at the time and how Sheila is becoming more modern.
People: In itallics to stress the importance.

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Sheila Birling

'You might be said to have been jealous of her.'
Might: Allegations - Inspector is unsure of the truth.
Jealous: She thought about waht she wanted, not the consquences or morals/selfish.

'And probably between us we killed her.'
Accepts Eva is dead and now knows everything changes, as well as showing responsibility and maturity.
Probably: Shows uncertainity.

'It's you two who are being childish- trying not to face the facts.'
Social Context - Children didn't generally talk to their parents like this
Childish: Changed personality, now acting more grown up and mature.

'And I hate to think how much he knows that we don't know yet. You'll see.'
Hate: Upset, Guilty, Regret, Ashamed.
He Knows: Omniscient.
You'll See: Used to fore-shadowing how much more has to come to the surface.

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Sheila Birling

'But just in case you forget - or decide not to come back, Gerald, I think you'd better take this with you (hands him the ring)'
Counteracts society because society believes high class women's duty was to get married, have children, do housework and look pretty.

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Gerald Croft

Gerald is...
Responsible - 'The easy well-bred young man-about-town'
Upper-Class - 'Landed people and so forth'
A Liar -          'I wasn't telling you a complete lie'
Traditional -   'I should say so! (Gerald agreeing with Birling)

Gerald is responsible for Eva's death after being in a sexual relationship with her for numerous months. After the affair ended, Gerald told her she had to move out of the flats, and brokeher heart, maybe leading to her death.

'(Sharply) Come along Mr Croft.'
Inspector knows he still has to be kind to Gerald.
Sharply: Not afraid of Gerald.
Mr. Croft: Using correct status for time period.

'Not accidently this time of course.'
Accidently: Mistake/Spontaneous.
This Time: Happened before.

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Gerald Croft

'(Decisively) We can settle that at once.'
Wants more power.
Decisively: Determined to get what he wants because of power.

'(Distressed) Sorry- I -well, I've suddenly realized - taken it in that she's dead.'
Attention seeking. Use of stutter makes readers more sympathetic.
Distressed: really cares.
Sorry: Apoligizing.
Realized: Feels bad about what he has done.

'Easy well-bred young man about town.'

'It's a favourite haunt of women of the town.'
Likes searching for sex.
Favourite: Does it often/has done it before.

'Everything's  alright now Sheila.'
Needing to maintain reputation and won't let a fake Inspector play him, trying to reassure Sheila that the upset has been resolved.

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Gerald Croft

'(Gravely) I see, well, I never saw her again, and that's all i can tell you.'
Doesn't want to dig himself a bigger hole by tallking about her.
Gravely: Sympathy.
Never: No proof.

'(Harshly) Yes, she's dead.'
Inspector to Gerald, and he knows more than what Gerald is telling them. Gerald is also confident even though Eva hasn't died yet.
Harshly: Doesn't share sympathy.

'(Hesitantly) it's hard to say. I didn't feel about her as she felt about me.'
Comforting Sheila for sympathy, knowing that Daisy/Eva cannot tell him the truth.
Hesitantly: Making sure he doesn't slip up or say the wrong thing.

'I suppose it was inevitable [...] I became at once the most important person in her life.'
Makes himself sound important and high up, trying to make his affair sound unavoidable from when they met and wants to make Sheila jealous.

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Eric Birling

Eric is...
IRRESPONSIBLE - 'I didn't even remember, that's the hellish thing'
UNLOVED -  'You don't understand anything. You never did.'
SENSITIVE - 'My God - I'm not likely to forget.'
ALCOHOLIC - 'I was in that state when a cahp easily turns nasty.'

Eric is responsible for Eva's death because he saw her at the palace bar (a local haunt for women of the night), and got her prgnant. This may have caused the events that followed with Mrs. Birling, and may have started it all.

'You don't understand anything, you never did.'
Eric is unloved and isolated from the rest of the family.
Understand: Present.
Did: Past.

'I was in a hell ofa state about it.'
Shows he is irresponsible, but that he is ashamed and embarassed about what he did.

'(Cutting in)'
No respect for Birling.

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Eric Birling

'I didn't even remember - that's the hellish thing.'
Maybe he was drunk, or did he **** her?
Hellish Thing: He is ashamed of what he did.

'My God I'm not likely to forget.'
He feels guilty about getting Daisy/Eva pregnant because he wasn't in the right mind when he had sex with her - implying it was ****? This also shows his sensitivity.

'I wasn't in love with her or anything - but I liked her - she was pretty and a good sport.'
He is embarassed of this affair, and feels selfish for what he did.

'I was in that state when a chap easily turns nasty.'
In That State: Aloholic.

'I'm ashamedof you both.'
Irony, he is seen as the baby of the family but he has yet had the biggest impact on Eva/Daisy.

'Then you killed her. She came to you to protect me... and you killed her.'
Seeing his mother as the murderer, and blaming Mrs. Biring entirely, which is very selfish.

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Eric Birling

'Because you're not that kind of father chap.'
Not close to his father.
Chap: Something you would say to a stranger, not your father.

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Mrs Birling

Mrs Birling is...
TRADITIONAL - 'When you're married you'll realize'
PROUD - 'I was the only one of you who didn't give in to him'
PREJUDICED - 'As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money'
CRUEL - 'I used my influence to have it refused'

Mrs Birling is responsible for Eva's death because she refused her cry for help when she was impregnated (unbeknowst to Mrs Birling) by her son. She refused her help because she used 'Mrs Birling' as her name ( which was not enitrely false and so didn't want to help.

'When you're married, you'll realize.'
When: Marriage is not an option, it must happenand Mrs Birling is confident Sheilla will marry (expectant).
Married: Very traditional.
You'll: Pronoun shows Mrs Birling is lecturing Sheila rather than involving her in the conversation.

'Deserving cases.'
Distinguishing between the poor who physically can't help themselves and the understanding they shouldn't be helped.

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Mrs Birling

'Deserving cases.'
Using her 'influence' to convince other committee members to neglect Daisy/Eva's appeal after her using the Birling name, and believing she has the 'authority' to decide who is deserving or not.

'You have no power to change my mind.' 
You: Direct.
Power: Birling won't accept that the Inspector has more powere than her - believes she is socially superior.
My: Pronoun - no one can make her change it - won't let anyone boss her about.

'As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money!'
Showing prejudiced behaviour to lower classes.
Girl Of That Sort: Shows she looks down on the lower class and sees herself as a social superior.
!: Humour - exclaiming as if it would never happen.

'I used my influence to have it refused.'
My Influence: Shows she knows she is better and has a high opinion of herself and her power.
Have It Refused: Cruel but she doesn't regret it.

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Mrs Birling

'I was the only one of you who didn't give in to him.'
She is proud she didn't say too much.
Only: Suggests singularity - she is alone.
Give In To Him: She didn't tell the truth.

'You don't understand anything. You never did. You never even tried!'
Anything: Mrs Birling is so sucked up in her own life and social class that she doesn't understand Eric's problems.
You Never Did: Eric feels isolated so not only is she cruel to Eric, she is cruel to everyone. She is so obssessed with her own life and social status, she forgets to care about her own children.
!: Eric yells at her because he feels that is theonly way to get her to listen to him.

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The Inspector

Inspector Goole is...
MORAL -                   'We don't live alone. We are members of one body'
AUTHORITATIVE -  'All in good time'
MYSTERIOUS -        'Was it a hoax'
AN OUTSIDER -       'The rude way he spoke to Mr Birling and me - it was quite extraordinary'

The Inspector is responsible for the families guilt over Eva's death after asking  them all about it and confusing their input on it.

'We are members of one family.'
We: Pronoun - draws everyone in together.
Social segregation, socialist views.
One Family: Believes in in equality.

'And my trouble is that I haven't got much time.'
Has time limit (needing to leave before something happens).

'Good night.'
Abrubt ending as if he's in a rush (foreshadowing).
Good: Irony for whats going to come.

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The Inspector

'There are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths.'
Millions: Infinite, numerical amount of people who need help.

'They will be taught in fire and blood and anguish.'
Fire: Hell.
Blood: War.
Anguish: Desperate unhappiness, reflecting their feelings of what has just happened.

'Their suffering and chances of happiness all intertwined in our lives.'
Socialist views, everyone effecting each others lives.
Our: Constant use of group pronouns.

'And his manner was so severve and he seemed so confident.'
Quite contradictory to his beleifs, making Mrs Birling finding the Inspector very imosing and self assured, she found it hard not to give him the answers he wanted.

'Calm authority.'
Doesn't need to rush because he knows, which links with him being omniscient. Showing socialist views, moral correctness and saying class doesn't matter.
Calm Authority: Showing he is in charge.

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The Inspector

'A girl has just died.'
Inspector was preparing the Birlings for what was going to happen, and as he is omniscient he already knows how everything happened and how they all contributed.

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Eva Smith/Daisy Renton

Eva/Daisy is...
ATTRACTIVE -        'Young and fresh and charming'
HONOURABLE -      'She didn't want to take any more money from him'
WORKING-CLASS - 'Girls of that class', 'A girl of that sort'
A PROSTITUTE -     'There was some woman who wanted her to go there'

Eva Smith was one of Arthur Birling's employees, who was sacked for protesting against lower wages. This dismissal is the first in a chain of events that sees the Birling family tied up in Eva Smith's death. According to the Inspector, Eva Smith changes her name to Daisy Renton and becomes a prostitute, which is how she meets Gerald and Eric. The real identity of Eva/Daisy is never revealed. She could be the same person, or different people who are treated the same by the Birling family. They see one working-class girl as being the same as another.

'My God!'
Language suggests surprise, obviously shock.

'As if a girl of that sort would ever refuse money.'
Sort: Unhuman.

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Eva Smith/Daisy Renton

'I don't suppose we can understand why she committed suicide, girls of this class.'
Class: Implies inferiority/degrading her.

'Only herself to blame.'
Unforgiving and doesn't care that what they've done has hurt her.

'She wasn't pretty when i saw her today, but she was.'
The reality of the situation is apparant.
Wasn't: Past tense.

'She was in great agony.'
Was: Past tense.
Agony: Sympathy.

'She wanted to end her life, she felt she couldn't go on any longer.'
Wanted: Past tense.

'He ought to be committed to marry her.'
Should've married her, then she may not have ended her own life due to the situations the Birlings helped put her in.

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Eva Smith/Daisy Renton

'But then I noticed a girl who looked quite different. She was very pretty - soft brown hair and big dark eyes.'
Showing respect for the working class.
Soft...dark eyes: Complimenting her (not something you'd expect for someone of his position in those times.

'(When showing annoyance) Any particular reason I shouldn't see this picture Inspector?'
When Showing Annooyance: Shows he is vain, believes he is entitled to it. 
?: Use of punctuation shows concern?

'Yes, yes. Horrid business. But I don't understand why you should come here.'
Showing impatience, and doesn't really care about what he has come to tell them. Also not really bothered about Eva/Daisy and just wants the Inspector to leave.

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