1 Is described at the start as a
"heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his
middle fifties but rather provincial in his speech."
2 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.
3 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.
4 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
5 Is optimistic for the future and confident that there will
not be a war. But the audience knows there will be a war.
6 extremely selfish
6.1 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."
6.2 Wants to protect Birling and Co. He cannot see that he
did anything wrong when he fired Eva Smith just believes
he was looking after his business.
6.3 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
7 At the end of the play, he knows he has lost the chance of his knighthood, his
reputation in Brumley and the chance of Birling and Co. merging with their
rivals. Yet he hasn't learnt thelesson of the play: he is unable to admit his
responsibility for his part in Eva's death.