An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley - Exam Revision - Characters & Setting

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Information about An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley - Exam Revision - Characters & Setting

Published on February 16, 2014

Author: ChloeHannahB



An overview of the characters in An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley.

• • • • • • • • Owner of Birling and Company. Husband of Mrs Sybil Birling. Father of Sheila and Eric Birling. He is selfish, Capitalist, unsympathetic, uncaring, proud of his achievements. Birling is presented on screen with a regional accent. Doesn’t agree with strikes or workers rights. Social betterment, he wants a knighthood. He has Communist views and beliefs.

• She is the chairwomen of the Brumley Women’s Charity Organisation. • Wife of Mr Arthur Birling. • Mother of Sheila and Eric Birling. • She refuses to take any blame for the death of Eva Smith. • Unaware of Eric’s alcoholism.

• He is a figure of authority. He deals with each member of the family very firmly. • He works very systematically; he likes to deal with "one person and one line of enquiry at a time." His method is to confront a suspect with a piece of information and then make them talk. • We find out that he isn’t a real Inspector at the end of the play.

• Daughter of Arthur and Sybil Birling. • Engaged to Gerald Croft. • Sheila is the only character that is clearly devastated by the suicide of Eva Smith. • She has Socialist views. • Her Father is keen for her to marry Gerald because of his social status.

• Son of Sybil and Arthur Birling and brother of Sheila. • In his early twenties. • At the start of the play he is described as “not quite at ease, half shy and half assertive.” • He drinks ‘pretty hard’. • He meets Eva at the palace bar when he is really drunk and basically forces her way into her apartment. They sleep together that night, then he sees her again a week later. Eva then tells him that she is pregnant.

• He is described as "an attractive chap about thirty” • Son of Lord and Lady Croft. • His Father is Sir George Croft who is Mr Birling's business rival. • Engaged to Sheila Birling. • He is not as willing as Sheila to admit his part in the girl's death to the Inspector and initially pretends that he never knew her. • The Inspector is harsh on him.

• We don’t actually meet Eva Smith in the play as she has drunk some disinfectant and she is in the infirmary. • She later dies as a result of suicide. • She stood up to Mr Birling and asked for higher wages, she was willing to stand up against injustice. This resulted in her being sacked from Birling and Company. • She was working class. • Both of her parents were dead. • She had a job at Milwards.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution. Emphasis on profit being distributed among the society or workforce to complement individual wages/salaries.

• Capital (or the “means of production”) is owned, operated and traded for the purpose of generating profits for private owners or shareholders. Emphasis on individual profit rather than on workers or society as a whole.

• 1914-1918. In the First World War at the age of 20, he joined the 10th Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. He served on the front line in France, he was wounded and gassed. • 1919. He was awarded a place at Trinity Hall in Cambridge University. He studied literature, history and political science. •1922. He began work in London as a journalist and The New Statesman. •1926. The General Strike hits the British Industry. •1929. The American economy is hit by the Wall Street Crash. •1945. He writes an Inspector Calls

1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) What is the name of Arthur Birling's company? Who are his children? Name the Birling family. Define Capitalism and Socialism. What was Sybil Birling unaware of? Who is Sheila engaged to? When did J.B. Priestley write An Inspector Calls?

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