A well-made play has to feature seven qualities that were chosen by Eugene Scribe. This formula for a well-made play is nearly always a successful base for a play. I think that the play “An Inspector Calls” contains all seven factors and is a well-made play.
As the play opens, we are introduced to the main characters, the Birling family and Gerald Croft. They are having a celebration dinner to mark the engagement of Mr Birling’s daughter, Sheila to Gerald, a wealthy member of a titled family. They are having this celebration in the Birling’s dining room, which is described to be furnished in, “good solid furniture of the period,” but is not, “comfortable or home like.” The Birlings have come into new money and Mr Birling is trying to be accepted into a higher class by people who have had money in their families for generations. So Mr Birling is sucking up to Gerald who is part of an old wealthy family. Mr Birling makes long speeches in which he mentions two of the main themes in this play, responsibility and reputation. He talks about the responsibility a man has for himself and his family, he also talks to Gerald about reputation. Mr Birling makes it clear that reputation is important to him. He tells Gerald that he was Lord Mayor a few years ago and is still a respected “party man” Mr Birling also confides in Gerald that he might be up for a Knighthood.Order now
The third theme of this play is relationships between the characters, this theme is very dominant at the beginning of the play and carries on through the play. You learn a lot about the relationships between the characters. This completes the information that is needed in the exposition.
Entrances and exits are an important part in “An Inspector Calls.” They are mostly timed and controlled by the Inspector. The first time he does this is when Sheila has entered the room and seen the Inspector for the first time. Mr Birling tells her that they will be finished soon and will come to the drawing room, he also tells Sheila that it is, “Nothing to do with you run along,” but the Inspector stops Sheila going and tells Mr Birling that they are not finished. This angers Mr Birling that he is being told what to do in his own home. Then the Inspector tells Eric when he says he is going to bed that; “If you turn in you might have to turn out again soon.” Therefore stopping Eric leaving. This creates the impression that the Inspector knows exactly what is going onto happen also this makes the audience wonder what part Eric has to play in the enquiry.
Near the end of Act one the Inspector tells Sheila, Gerald and Eric that Eva Smith changed her name to Daisy Renton. Gerald immediately responds by saying, “What?” Then the Inspector leaves with Eric, giving Sheila and Gerald time to talk about how Gerald knows Daisy Renton. This is a well-timed exit as in this short time Sheila and Gerald both get a lot more uneasy and unsure of what is coming and Sheila even said she is getting hysterical. This gives the Inspector more control over the characters.
The third factor a well-made play must have is an obligatory scene where a secret is revealed. There are quite a few obligatory scenes in “An Inspector Calls” because every character has a secret. The Inspector goes through the other Characters revealing their secrets one by one. First of all it is revealed that Mr Birling sacked Eva because she went on strike. Then Sheila got her sacked from a job in Millwards, which was a clothes shop. Then we find out that Gerald had a relationship with Eva in the summer but he had finished it in the first week of September and he hadn’t seen her since. Mrs Birling’s secret was that Eva had come to her committee for help because she was pregnant and didn’t want to take stolen money from the baby’s father. But Mrs Birling turned her away because she, “didn’t like her manner” and when Mrs Birling is trying to justify her actions by blaming it all on the baby’s father they find out that Eric is the father.
The final secret is the only one that is not revealed by the Inspector but by Gerald, who has found out that Inspector Goole does not exist and is not a police Inspector. This news causes some of the characters to question the secrets that the Inspector revealed. But Sheila and Eric do not because they feel guilty for what they have done, unlike Gerald and Mr and Mrs Birling.
There are only three Acts in this play and each of them ends on a tense and dramatic moment climatic curtain. The first Act ends just after we find out that Gerald had something to do with Eva Smith. He is asking Sheila to keep his secret but Sheila is saying that there is no point and the Inspector, “already knows.” When the Inspector comes back in and says, “well?” this is dramatic because even though Sheila is getting “hysterical” what she says about the Inspector is true, he does know Gerald’s secret. Also the Inspector’s manner suggests that he is completely calm and in control, unlike Gerald and Sheila.
The second Act ends in the same way with a secret being revealed. This time its Eric’s. Mrs Birling had just been telling the Inspector that he should be doing his duty by, “making an example of the young man” who got Eva pregnant, then they find out Eric is the father. The rest of the Birling family is in shock or denial when Eric walks in to find them all staring at him. This ending is very dramatic because everyone’s concentration is focused on one person who was completely unaware this would meet him when he entered the room.
At the end of the third and final Act Mr Birling thinks the whole episode was a joke and is trying to encourage the rest of the family to laugh about it but Eric and Sheila couldn’t be more serious. The phone rings and Mr Birling answers. Then informs the others that a girl has just died on her way to the Infirmary. The police are on their way over. This is very dramatic because the same character that was considering it as a joke a short phone call ago is now extremely serious.
Mistaken identity is the fifth factor a well-made play must have. In the play “An Inspector Calls” Eva Smith changes her name to Daisy Renton because of this Gerald doesn’t think he knows Eva Smith until the Inspector tells them that she changed her name to Daisy Renton. He didn’t know that the Daisy he knew was the same girl Mr Birling had sacked for starting a strike at work. Also the Inspector does not show everyone the photo of Eva at the same time, so towards the end the characters are not sure if the two girls are the same person and the Inspector had shown them different photos of different girls.
At the end of Act two Mrs Birling talks about the baby’s father but she doesn’t know her son Eric is the father of the baby and that is the reason why Eva called herself Mrs Birling when she went to the committee for help. This example of mistaken identity shows how far society’s double standards exist.
Inspector Goole posed as a Police Inspector but Gerald found out that there was no Police Inspector called Goole and no record of a girl dying in the Infirmary from swallowing disinfectant that day.
“The Inspector Calls” has one main story line, which is why Eva committed suicide. There are small story lines connected that explain how Gerald and the Birlings are connected.