An Inspector Calls Characters

Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

Mind Map on An Inspector Calls Characters, created by lauren.pritchard on 05/08/2014.

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Created by lauren.pritchard over 5 years ago
An Inspector calls - Gerald Croft
Rattan Bhorjee
An Inspector Calls: Eric Birling
Rattan Bhorjee
An Inspector Calls - Themes
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An Inspector Calls - Quotes
An Inspector Calls - Themes
An Inspector Calls: Mr Arthur Birling
Rattan Bhorjee
An Inspector Calls - Inspector Goole
Rattan Bhorjee
An Inspector Calls: Mrs Sybil Birling
Rattan Bhorjee
An Inspector Calls Characters
1 Mr Arthur Birling
1.1 He is described at the start as a ""heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties but rather provincial in his speech.""
1.2 He 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.
1.2.1 However, he 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.
1.3 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 his business.
1.4 He is optimistic for the future and confident that there will not be a war. As the audience knows there will be a war, we begin to doubt Mr Birling's judgement.
1.5 He is extremely selfish
1.5.1 He 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.""
1.5.2 He wants to protect Birling and Co. He cannot see that he did anything wrong when he fired Eva Smith - he was just looking after his business interests.
1.5.3 He 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 can.""
1.6 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 the lesson of the play: he is unable to admit his responsibility for his part in Eva's death.
2 Mrs Sybil Birling
2.1 She is described at the start as ""about fifty, a rather cold woman and her husband's social superior.""
2.2 She is a snob, very aware of the differences between social classes.
2.3 She has the least respect for the Inspector of all the characters. She tries - unsuccessfully - to intimidate him and force him to leave, then lies to him when she claims that she does not recognise the photograph that he shows her.
2.4 She sees Sheila and Eric still as ""children"" and speaks patronisingly to them.
2.5 She tries to deny things that she doesn't want to believe: Eric's drinking, Gerald's affair with Eva
2.6 She admits she was ""prejudiced"" against the girl who applied to her committee for help and saw it as her ""duty"" to refuse to help her. Her narrow sense of morality dictates that the father of a child should be responsible for its welfare, regardless of circumstances
2.7 At the end of the play like her husband, she refuses to believe that she did anything wrong and doesn't accept responsibility for her part in Eva's death.
3 Eric Birling
3.1 He is described at the start as ""in his early twenties, not quite at ease, half shy, half assertive.""
3.2 Eric seems embarrassed and awkward right from the start. The first mention of him in the script is ""Eric suddenly guffaws,"" and then he is unable to explain his laughter, as if he is nervous about something.
3.3 It soon becomes clear to us (although it takes his parents longer) that he is a hardened drinker. Gerald admits, ""I have gathered that he does drink pretty hard.""
3.4 He feels guilt and frustration with himself over his relationship with the girl. He cries, ""Oh - my God! - how stupid it all is!"" as he tells his story. He is horrified that his thoughtless actions had such consequences.
3.5 He had some innate sense of responsibility, though, because although he got a woman pregnant, he was concerned enough to give her money.
3.6 He is appalled by his parents' inability to admit their own responsibility. He tells them forcefully, ""I'm ashamed of you."" When Birling tries to threaten him in Act III, Eric is aggressive in return: ""I don't give a damn now.""
3.7 t the end of the play, like Sheila, he is fully aware of his social responsibility.
4 Sheila Birling
4.1 She is described at the start as ""a pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited.""
4.2 Even though she seems very playful at the opening, we know that she has had suspicions about Gerald when she mentions ""last summer, when you never came near me.""
4.3 she shows her compassion immediately she hears of her father's treatment of Eva Smith: ""But these girls aren't cheap labour - they're people.""
4.4 She is horrified by her own part in Eva's story. She feels full of guilt for her jealous actions and blames herself as ""really responsible.""
4.5 She is very perceptive
4.5.1 she realises that Gerald knew Daisy Renton from his reaction, the moment the Inspector mentioned her name.
4.5.2 she is the first to realise Eric's part in the story.
4.5.3 near the end, she is the first to consider whether the Inspector may not be real.
4.6 She is curious.
4.7 She is becoming more mature.
4.8 She is angry with her parents in Act 3 for trying to ""pretend that nothing much has happened."" She is seeing her parents in a new, unfavourable light.
4.9 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.
5 Gerald Croft
5.1 He is described as ""an attractive chap about thirty, rather too manly to be a dandy but very much the easy well-bred man-about-town.""
5.2 He is an aristocrat - the son of Lord and Lady Croft. We realise that they are not over-impressed by Gerald's engagement to Sheila because they declined the invitation to the dinner.
5.3 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.
5.4 He did have some genuine feeling for Daisy Renton, however: he is very moved when he hears of her death. He tells Inspector Goole that he arranged for her to live in his friend's flat ""because I was sorry for her;"" she became his mistress because ""She was young and pretty and warm-hearted - and intensely grateful.""
5.5 Despite this, in Act 3 he tries to come up with as much evidence as possible to prove that the Inspector is a fake - because that would get him off the hook. It is Gerald who confirms that the local force has no officer by the name of Goole, he who realises it may not have been the same girl and he who finds out from the infirmary that there has not been a suicide case in months. He seems to throw his energies into ""protecting"" himself rather than ""changing"" himself (unlike Sheila).
5.6 At the end of the play, he has not changed. He has not gained a new sense of social responsibility, which is why Sheila (who has) is unsure whether to take back the engagement ring.
6 Eva Smith
6.1 Think about Eva's name. Eva is similar to Eve, the first woman created by God in the Bible. Smith is the most common English surname. So, Eva Smith could represent every woman of her class.
7 Inspector Goole
7.1 He is described on his entrance as creating ""an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness. He is a man in his fifties, dressed in a plain darkish suit. He speaks carefully, weightily, and has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking. ""
7.2 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 - or, as Sheila puts it, ""he's giving us the rope - so that we'll hang ourselves.""
7.3 He is a figure of authority. He deals with each member of the family very firmly and several times we see him ""massively taking charge as disputes erupt between them.""
7.4 He seems to know and understand an extraordinary amount
7.4.1 He knows the history of Eva Smith and the Birlings' involvement in it, even though she died only hours ago.
7.4.2 He knows things are going to happen - He says ""I'm waiting... To do my duty"" just before Eric's return, as if he expected Eric to reappear at exactly that moment
7.4.3 He is obviously in a great hurry towards the end of the play: he stresses ""I haven't much time.""
7.5 His final speech is like a sermon or a politician's. He leaves the family with the message ""We are responsible for each other"" and warns them of the ""fire and blood and anguish"" that will result if they do not pay attention to what he has taught them.
7.6 What does all his mystery suggest?
7.6.1 Is he a ghost? Goole reminds us of 'ghoul'.
7.6.2 is he real?
7.6.3 Is he the voice of all our consciences?

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