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An Inspector Calls Character Revision Guide

Why is Eric important to the play An Inspector Calls? (Georgia, Jonny, Amy) In Act One of An Inspector Calls Gerald jokingly suggests Erics been up to something an ironic statement because they do not yet know his involvement with Eva Smith. This quote foreshadows what is to come showing us how Eric is important to the play, as this is the first indication of why the inspector is there and how the play will unfold. Also, after Gerald suggests this, the mood and atmosphere changes drastically from list and humorous to Eric becoming on edge and making everyone feel uneasy and on edge. Eric is also important in Act Two, although he does not speak, his actions bring out of her peoples true personalities, people who are usually content and reserved. We see this when Mrs Birling shows no understanding for Eva Smiths situation as (she) blame(s) the young man and its his responsibility. During Act Three, we learn the inspector is a fake, yet Eric still regrets what he has done, which highlights the differences in how the family view the morality of their questions throughout the play. When Eric says it frightens me too towards the end of the novel, we see that he feels guilty and is worried for his parents sake as they choose to be apathetic about the events. This is important as it helps to show the contrast between the characters and the morality of the situation. Eric is also important for putting across the theme of responsibility. He finally confesses to everything he had done with little persuasion. He also shows remorse when facing the facts of his time with Eva which shows him as more responsible for things now, compared to the beginning when he was a drunk. Finally we get a clear layout of the series of events which took place, regarding the characters actions. Eric helps to tie this entire up because he is the last one to own up and explain his links to Eva Smith. Without Eric the inspectors inquiry wouldnt be complete, therefore he is viewed as an extremely important character in the play. The way he shouts the girls dead and we all helped to kill her shows his frustrated nature and creates more of a tense atmosphere. To conclude Eric is important in An Inspector Calls because he shows that young, rich men think that they can treat people how they like and get away with it, however with guidance they can mature and take responsibility for their actions.

Why is Sheila important to the play An Inspector Calls? (Eddie Warnock, Abbie Chinnock, Harold Woolf)

Sheila is presented as an important character right at the start of the play, when the group are celebrating Sheila and Geralds engagement. Sheila shows the theme of naivety through her childlike mannerisms, for example the way she addresses her parents as mummy and daddy. This could show that she is immature, this is important because this signifies her juvenile side at the start of the play, juxtaposed with her responsible, opinionated nature at the end of the play. Furthermore, in this section of the play, love is presented as materialistic through Sheila when she says now I really feel engaged, after receiving her ring from Gerald. This shows how the family are more concerned about items of wealth, as opposed to other peoples feelings and their own emotions. Therefore, Sheila is important to the play because she introduces the idea that love is of little value compared to wealth. Sheilas interrogation by the Inspector is also an important event in the play; this is because of Sheilas reaction to this and her change in personality from then onwards. This is conveyed through the sage direction (she almost breaks down, but just controls herself). This shows her display of emotion for the first time and her change in personality is obvious when she snaps at Eric saying Oh shut up, Eric which shows how she is beginning to become more dominant and starts to believe in herself. In addition, Sheila is portrayed as impressionable, which is important to the play because she appears to be the only character affected by the Inspector which shows the lasting effect on the other characters. When speaking to Gerald, Sheila says, Why you fool he knows which suggests that Sheila is a lot more understanding of the situation compared to the other characters who are ignorant of the circumstances in which they are found. This is highlighted when Mr Birling says, Well if you dont mind Ill find out first, presenting him as arrogant ad refuses to accept blame for the poor girls death, showing how Sheila is more mature than the others. This makes her important to the play because her reaction puts shame on the others, as they seem not to care. The importance of Sheila is also demonstrated when she is seen to side with the Inspector, during the questioning of the other characters. Sheila doesnt defend Gerald, her fiance, when she says of course [you] did insinuating that she is assisting the interrogation, rather than defending those closest to her. This is important because her loyalties have changed and she is becoming a more prominent and involved speaker throughout the play, showing how people can develop under stressful situations. At the end of the play, Sheila is also important as she genuinely shows remorse for the girl, even after they found out that no one died. She talks to her family saying Everything [she] said had really had happened. She now has an understanding of civilisation. If it didnt end tragically thats lucky for us. But it might have done. This implies Sheila has developed in maturity and from being ignorant towards society. This is important as her development to a mature character highlights the key theme of responsibility. The final point as to why Sheila is an important character is that she tries to become, arguably, the most dominant character as the end of the play. Her short interruptions such as when she

scornfully says, Thats all, shows how she is now controlling the potentially difficult situation in which the family find themselves. Furthermore, her change in character has left her becoming less materialistic, emphasised when she gives Gerald her engagement ring back. In conclusion, Sheila is extremely important to the play, as a whole, because she demonstrates who the interrogation affects the family and thus relationships. She is also used to present key themes such as remorse and responsibility which is vital as she is the only character that accepts what she has done, presenting the rest of the family as ignorant.

How is Sheila Presented in An Inspector Calls? (Tom, Matt Ainsworth, Daisy)

At the beginning of the play Priestly portrays Sheila as a very childish and immature young woman, due to the fact she call Mrs Birling mummy. Her child-like language implies she wishes to be cared for making her seem innocent and that she has been brought up in a very protected and closed-off family. During Act One Sheila also comes across as very irresponsible, regarding her emotions. At one point she claims that if Gerald isnt careful, shell start weeping. This proves she is emotionally responsible because she goes on to be described as excited. This stark contrast in emotions suggest she cannot control her feelings nor her immaturity. At this point in the play, Sheila comes across as very irritating and rather pathetic. Later, in Act One, after being questioned by the Inspector, Sheila confesses to using her familys influence to have Eva Smith sacked from her job at Milwards. At this point, Sheila is presented as jealous when she says it just suited her. Sheila is shown to act maliciously towards Eva simply because she is prettier/more suited to a dress she tries on, showing that Sheila is petty and very immature. The words Priestly has used show how Sheila acts childishly in most situations and shows how her lack of maturity affects her character. In Act Two, Sheila is shows to both fear and respect the Inspector when she says he hasnt started on you yet. This tells us that the Inspector has made a huge impression on Sheila, implying that she is very impressionable. She also claims that the Inspector is giving us the rope so that we will hang ourselves. The fact that Sheila has drawn a link between the Inspector and death proves that she feels hes dangerous and a threat to the other characters. The fact that Sheila now seems to be supporting the inspector to some extent, shows how because of her weak personality, she will support the others for her benefit which can be seen throughout Acts 2 and 3. In Act Three, Sheila is presented as a lot more adult and responsible, after the Inspector has interrogated them all. This is due to the fault that once he leaves, the others try to pretend the whole thing never happened, but Sheila takes the role of the Inspector. This is shown due to the way she talks, such as (scornfully) and (reflectively). These words portray her as more reasonable and mature, especially because she calls her parents childish. This is a role reversal, which demonstrates Sheilas transition from ignorance to enlightenment. It also shows dramatic irony, as earlier, Mrs Birling describes Sheila as this. This is in stark contrast to her personality at the start of the play, in which shed never insult her Mummy and Daddy. At this point Sheila becomes angry with her familys ignorance; Everything [they] said had happened, really had happened yet they turn a blind eye to their irresponsibility to protect their social standing. This shows just how mature Sheila has become, as she is the only one to fully accept the consequences of their actions. In conclusion, Sheila is presented as an immature young adult that develops and matures throughout the play. She presents the effect that the Inspector has on the Birling family.

How is Mr Birling Presented in An Inspector Calls (Callum, Chloe, Becky) Before the play starts, Mr Birling is described as wearing tails and white ties, suggesting that he is an upper-glass gentleman; from this we can infer that he may have high opinions of himself. However, he is then described as sounding provincial, suggesting that there is a lack of sophistication. This, along with the fact that his wife is described as his social superior implies that he is pretending to have a higher status amongst society, to make him look better than he actually is. Here, he is presented as arrogant and dislikeable. This makes us prejudiced against him from the beginning of the play. In Act One, Mr Birling is also presented as ignorant. We see this when he is talking of silly little war[s] and describes the Titanic [as] absolutely unsinkable! Priestly uses dramatic irony here to make the audience aware that Mr Birling is wrong. This is because most of the things he speaks of as being impossible do actually occur. As a result, Mr Birling is presented as foolish, as he has presented his views as facts, showing his ignorance. In Act Two, Mr Birling is presented as controlling. This is apparent through his relationship with his children, especially with Sheila. When Gerald prepares to answer the Inspectors questions, Mr Birling prevents him from doing so by (indicating Sheila), implying that she should be protected from the truth. The fact that he does not even ask her about this shows that he is a dominant parent. Mr Birling is also shown to have a lack of communication and understanding towards his children. When Sheila talks of a girl escap[ing] with a torn blouse, Mr Birling responds with a (shocked) tone to his voice. This presents a lack of communication between himself and Sheila, as he is surprised by what she says, presenting him as selfobsessed, as he seems more concerned as to what is going on in his own life, rather than his familys. This is also shown through his relationship with his son, Eric. When Mr Birling finds out that Eric is the father of Eva Smiths child, he says My God!, showing his surprise at the matter. This, once again, shows that he does not have a very strong relationship with his children as he is unaware of what goes on in their lives. Because of this, it could be argued that the only reason that Mr Birling is concerned is because of the impact it will have on his standing in society, as he says No one will suffer more than [himself], once again showing his self-obsession and concern with this own life. Mr Birling is shown to make exceptions for himself in Act Three of An Inspector Calls for example, during the discussion after the inspector has left, he says to Eric and Sheila that there is every excuse for what both [himself and Mrs Birling] did, showing that he feels that he is an exception to the general rule of how we should behave towards others. Furthermore, he talks of a public scandal after Inspector Goole leaves rather than the case of Eva Smith, implying that he cares more about the effect that the case will have on himself, rather than the death of Eva Smith. This presents him as unsympathetic. Another key characteristic that Mr Birling is shown on have in Act Three is that he is temperamental. Priestly presents him in this way through the use of stage directions. Mr Birling changes from talking angrily to talking savagely and then to triumphantly. Here, he is presented as temperamental as he is shown to have a fluctuating mood. Interestingly, the change from savagely to triumphantly occurs when Inspector Goole leaves, suggesting that he feels threatened when the Inspector is around, presenting him as insecure.

How is Mrs Birling Presented in An Inspector Calls (Niall, Ed Lovering) Firstly, Mrs Birling is introduced to us as a rather cold woman and her husbands social superior. This gives us our first impression of Mrs Birling, from which we can infer that she is a very contained and formal woman, one who does not like to show emotion or remorse. We know this from the word choice of cold as it implies she is a bleak and dull character. Likewise, the phrase social superior when comparing her to her spouse, tells us that she is of a higher class and thus the more dominant figure in their relationship! Furthermore, Mrs Birling is presented as a motherly figure that is yet to develop a close relationship with her children. Later on in the Act Mrs Birling emphasises this point when she refers to her children as darling[s] the use of that word here making her appear of higher social class. In Act Two we see Mrs Birlings dominance, yet again, when she speaks and acts in a very confident manner, questioning and opposing the Inspector, unlike the other characters. This is shown when Mrs Birling objects, saying I dont think we can help you much, despite the fact that the Inspector had already linked three of the characters to the death of Eva Smith. This also shows her to be nave and self-confident. In continuation, another key theme fabricated by Mrs Birling, is the idea of a class divide: the concept that the Birlings are superior to the working class. To begin with Mrs Birling boasts about how her husband was Lord Mayor, bringing this up on several occasions to attempt to intimidate the Inspector. This clearly shows that she believes there is class divide; and that those below her are inferior, reinforced by when she detrimentally refers to Eva Smith as a girl of that class. Furthermore, in Act Three, we see Mrs Birlings melodramatic and distraught side when she patronises Eric, by saying Oh Eric how could you. This is overly dramatic and ironic as we soon find out she did a thing just as regrettable as Eric, whilst patronising because she is treating Eric as if he is but a child. After the Inspector has left she is snobby and egotistical, claiming that her actions were righteous and that they wouldnt be in this mess if everyone else had been.

Why is Gerald important to the Play An Inspector Calls (Anna Williams, Lucy, Harriet)

We are first introduced to Gerald in Act One. He agrees with Mr Birling all the time, by mimicking Birlings comments on the absolutely first-class meal and by saying things like I believe youre right Sir. This presents Gerald as false and as though he is forcing what he is saying because he is uncomfortable at the Birling household. This is important to the play as it shows Gerald may not be telling the whole truth and just saying things to please others particularly Mr Birling. It is then revealed that Gerald is engaged to Sheila, Mr Birlings daughter. He now gets treated as one of the family by Mr and Mrs Birling after Gerald trying long enough to get Sheilas hand in marriage. This shows that Gerald is marrying into a nice well behaved family not when he wants to but when the family will let him. This shows the differences between the Crofts and the Birlings and their social status which is an important theme in the play. During Geralds confession in Act Two, we realise that he has cheated on Sheila with Daisy Renton (Eva Smith). Although this event is frowned upon by the Birlings, it isnt as bad as it first seems, The Inspector picks out that Gerald did in fact love Daisy Renton for a time and that he made her take some money to keep her going. This shows that Gerald looked after Daisy Renton, gave her hope and support and didnt ask for anything in return. This key event picks up on the key themes of hope, protection and the importance of social class and how it doesnt affect Geralds views on people. Even though Mrs Birling thinks it is a disgusting affair, Sheila rather respects [him] more than [shed] ever done before. This is important to the play because it shows that Gerald had a large involvement with Daisy Renton, however he showed more care to her than the others. Geralds most important part of the play is when he returns to the Birling hou sehold and discovers that the Inspector is not genuine. He states quite clearly and confidently that man wasnt a Police Officer. Gerald is the one that instigates the suggestion that Inspector Goole was in fact a fake and theyve been had. Gerald is extremely important to the play in this part because his decisive characteristics show, and prove that he wont accept what people tell him without thinking about it and applying his own logic and initiative here he takes a walk on his own. We see Geralds persuasive side which is important to the play because he changes everyones thoughts on the Inspector, especially Mr and Mrs Birling, therefore changing the plot ad causes a surprise twist at the end. In conclusion, Gerald is important to the play because of his effect on other characters and the power he has to change conversations and the whole plot completely.

Why is Mrs Birling important to the Play An Inspector Calls (James, Max, Amelia)

Mrs Birling is considered to be the final push that led Eva Smith to suicide, so it could be argued that without her, Eva Smith would still be alive. At first, she is apathetic towards Eva Smith, as she dislikes her for lying to her committee and using her name. She refuses Eva Smith money and forces her to more drastic action. Mrs Birling is important to the ply An Inspector Calls because she presents the disregard that the upper class have towards the poor. Mrs Birling derogatively refers to the working class when she says girls of that class showing how she frowns upon the lower class and has no care towards the plight of the poor. Mrs Birling is also important as she is one of the characters that questions the Inspector and resists him. This shows that she has the dominant position in the household, and is particularly controlling. For example, she interrupts her husband by shouting Arthur! at him, and he instantly stops, showing how she has control over him, because he married up into society, so she is therefore his social superior. Also her resistance of the Inspector shows that she is one of the most confident and self-assured characters in the play. This is shown when she says that he certainly didnt make me confess, revealing that she believes she is the most intelligent and has the strongest willpower, thus showing her importance as she helps to being in the theme of arrogance to the play. Another thing that makes Mrs Birling important is that she completes the family dynamic. She fulfills the role of the caring, yet stern and somewhat patronising mother figure. We know this because when Eric is discovered to be a binge drinker, she is shown to be distress[ed]. This shows that she cares for Eric, however the fact that she did not know whilst everyone else did suggests that she is self-deluded and confused over who her children actually are as people, as she is unaware of some key facts about them. This makes her important to the novel, as she reinforces in themes of detachment and ignorance, reflecting on the time period, as parents were not that close to their children. Mrs Birling is also important to the play as she carries the story along. She is used to say phrases such as of course she does and what an expression Sheila! To carry the play along, creating opportunities for other characters to say lines with much more meaning. Also, she is used to saying lines that create a family atmosphere, making it much more believable. Otherwise, it would appear as a very contrived, far-fetched plot.

How is Gerald presented in An Inspector Calls (Hannah, Anna, Steph)

Firstly, we are introduced to Gerald when Priestly describes him as an attractive chap, about 30, rather too manly to be a dandy but very much the easy well-bred young man-about-town. This tells us that Gerald is from an upper class family who is now successful and well-off. During the first part of Act One, Gerald is presented as polite as he refers to Mr Birling as Sir and agrees with everything he says. However this could also be interpreted as being sycophantic towards Mr Birling as he is seeking the familys approval for his daughters hand in marriage. An example of Geralds sycophantic behaviour is when he calls the meal absolutely first-class as Mr Birling prioritises the higher classes it shows that Gerald is pulling out all the stops in order to impress him. As well as this Gerald shares the Birlings foolishness, like when he calls the Titanic absolutely unsinkable and when he says there is no chance of war this shows that he has a pretentious side to his personality. Later when the Inspector arrives Gerald puts emphasis on social class, and superiority when he tries to take control over the Inspector when he is (showing annoyance) towards the Inspector and says Any particular reason why I shouldnt see this girls photograph, Inspector? He does this to the effect of intimidating the Inspector however this is unsuccessful, and makes him seem arrogant and cocky. Also this shows that Gerald is quite self centred and has a large sense of self importance as he feels he has to be involved in everything. During Birlings and the Inspectors conversation, Gerald defends Mr Birling to a greater extent than previously in the play saying things such as You couldnt have done anything else and I should say so in response to Mr Birlings statements. This echoes Geralds opinion on social class and how the higher classes are model citizens showing his egotism. In Act Two of An Inspector Calls when Gerald is being interviewed by the Inspector, initially he is unwilling to co-operate and denies knowing Daisy Renton saying to the Inspector Where did you get the idea that I did know her? implying that he doesnt want to expose the truth to the Birlings showing Gerald to be secretive and wanting to protect his dignity. After his reluctance he realizes the importance of the information he holds Gerald shows the audience a more vulnerable side to him. He says She was young and pretty and warn -hearted this implies that Gerald cared for this girl as he is showing compassion towards her. This presents Gerald as sympathetic. In the final act of An Inspector Calls Gerald enters the Birling home and says I hope you dont mind me coming back? This shows that he is feeling timid and cant come around the family after his secret had been revealed. This implies that Gerald is feeling guilty and as though he had betrayed Sheila. After this, however, Gerald gone one to ask questions concerning the Inspector such as When did the Inspector go? and How did he behave? This shows that Gerald is inquisitive and is unwilling to accept humiliation or blame as he is trying to prove the Inspector wrong. During this part of the play Gerald (looks around triumphantly) showing that he is taking charge and feels like a hero for proving the Inspector wrong. However the audience sees this as an act of desperation as he is trying to convince the family, and himself, that he has not done any wrong.

In conclusion, Gerald is presented as arrogant, egotistical, desperate and occasionally compassionate. This is portrayed through his relationships with other characters, stage directions and how he says things.

How is Eric presented in An Inspector Calls? (Caitlin, Nick, Heather) In Act One of An Inspector Calls we learn a lot about Eric through both what he says and what others infer about him. Priestly initially presents him as quite rude and excitable. He often interrupts his father (eagerly) which reflects his immaturity. Birling become fed up with Eric and suggest his public school and varsity life has made him soft and reliant on his parents; implying he is not very hard working and lives off his father. Later on in Act One, we get the impression that he may not be as innocent as first thought, as Gerald says unless Erics been up to something. Although this line is only meant as a joke, it begins to hint at Erics guilt. This is reinforced when Birling mentions women and Eric exclaims yes/remember and then (checks himself) suggesting he may have something to hide throughout this section, we are introduced to Erics drinking problem as he is described as squiffy. Although a lot of this adds up to Eric being presented as an unsavoury character, the way he contradicts his father saying he could have kept her instead of turning her out implies that he does have some good intentions. Towards the end of Act Two, Eric is shown to have two personalities, as Mrs Birling wont believe Erics major involvement in the suicide, showing it is the last thing she expects from her son. However, ironically, it is Mrs Birling who inadvertently describes Eric as some drunken young idler, who she herself says should be made an example of. During Act Three, we learn more about Erics problems with drinking. We see how dependent he is on it as he turns to alcohol when he is stressed or under pressure, and needs drink just to see him through. He also becomes violent and threatening when he is drunk, saying he was in a state when a chap easily turns nasty; this presents Eric as someone who is temperamental and uncontrollable. He is also presented as depressed and unhappy. Priestly shows this through the stage directions, such as (bitterly) and (miserably). Erics line I didn t even remember thats the hellish thing. Oh my God! how stupid it all is! summarises his regret and the suffering his actions have caused him. The fact he stole money shows him to be deceitful to his father, although it was an act of pity towards Eva Smith, which suggests that all that he does stems from good intentions. In conclusion the readers impression of Eric revolves around him being a foolish alcoholic whose addition caused major suffering for both him and more importantly Eva Smith. However, we do feel a bit of sympathy for Eric as unlike his parents, he does show severe regret because of his actions.

Why is Mr Birling important to the play An Inspector Calls? (Lydia, Jess, Matt A) In Act One of An Inspector Calls, we see Mr Birling dominating the conversation at the dinner party. His authoritative manner is shown when he says You ought to like this part, Gerald. By using the word ought, Priestly shows Mr Birling almost instructing Gerald, immediately presenting Birling as a forceful and domineering character. Here his personality is quite brash, immediately highlighting his importance in the play as it shows he can control conversation and make things go the way he wants to. This continues when we learn about his inquisitive nature, when he says youre new, arent you?, giving us the impression he plays an important role in the town. This is important to the play as it shows the hierarchy of all the characters. Mr Birling is also portrayed as a very arrogant individual, intimidating others around him. This is important as his personality creates a tense atmosphere and makes the other characters around him appear more reserved. Priestly shows this when Birling says you understand that, dont you, Inspector? This rhetorical question sounds condescending and patronising towards the Inspector. This is important to the play because it echoes the themes of superiority and social class. This continues into Act Two where Mr Birling is still portrayed as being egotistical, Mr Birling says Is there any reason why my wife should answer questions from you, Inspector? Here we see Birling feels that he is superior to the Inspector by trying to overrule him, whilst at the same time drying the emanate his superiority. Here, his dismissal of the Inspectors questioning, shows how Mr Birling is important to the play as we see him counteracting the Inspector. Mr Birling is show as being a defensive character, when he says, well, I only did what any employer might have done. This presents the idea that all the characters are trying to shift the blame from themselves onto others. This is important because it shows that the play presents all members of the family trying to protect themselves and blame someone else. This resurfaces in Act Three, where we see Mr Birling claiming how Theres every excuse for what both your mother and I did. This shows him making exceptions for himself as he believes he has NO fault, displaying Birling as selfish and also revealing his lack of empathy for the girl. This makes the audience feel quite cold towards him due to his unsympathetic nature, creating a darker mood. We see throughout Act Three, Mr Birling having a fluctuating mood going from (angrily) to (savagely) and then to (triumphantly), highlighting his supremistic notions. This is important to the play as it shows the progression of goods which allows the audience to empathise with the characters and understand their point of view. Also in Act Three we see Mr Birlings change in moods from when the Inspector is present to when hes not. Towards the beginning of the Act, Birling appears quite on edge, shown by the sage directions, contrasting with when the Inspector is not there and we see a sense of relief in Birling.