“An inspector calls” was written around 1944 and is set around 1912. Arthur Birling, used to show the capitalist view, is self-indulged and says; “A man has to look after himself” when they are talking about a community, showing he is selfish and only cares about his family and himself. He is also shown as a fool who thinks he knows everything about anything but clearly doesn’t. When he talks about the “unsinkable Titanic” and that “there isn’t a chance of war” shows he doesn’t know much because there were two wars between the setting of the play and the date it was written, and the Titanic also sunk.Order now
When the family learn about the death of Eva, Mr Birling is the first to be questioned by the inspector. He resists questions from the inspector; “I can’t think they can be of any great consequence.” He also uses his authority to try and avoid interrogation; “Perhaps I’d ought to warn you is an old friend of mine” demonstrating his power and showing he is an upper class man. I don’t think Eva Smiths death affected Mr Birling much because he didn’t really know her. He does remember her as being a; “Lively, good looking girl… a good worker too… ready for promotion.” But after the workers came back from holiday they went on strike for more money and because Mr Birling is selfish, he told her and a few others to; “clear out” because he is more interested in; “ labour costs down.” He doesn’t accept any responsibility because he was just doing what was best for the business.
When the inspector has left and Gerald fathoms that the inspector was a hoax, Mr Birling his and his family’s reputation stays as intact as it can. He shields the truth from Gerald so his parents, Sir George and Lady Croft, who are of higher status than the Birlings don’t find out about the details of the night. When Sheila says; “Gerald might as well know,” Birling hastily replies; “Now-now we needn’t bother him with all that stuff.” Which shows he doesn’t want his image ruined by the evenings events. The second person to be questioned is Sheila. She is shocked to hear about Eva committing suicide; “Oh- how horrible!” When she realises she has done something to contribute to Evas death, she blames everything on herself; “So I’m really responsible?”
When the inspector is questioning her he is sympathetic and replies; “No, not entirely” trying to make her feel better about what she has done. Even though Sheila did little to contribute to Evas suicide she feels extremely guilty, regretful and wishes to change towards the end of the play; “(Bitterly) I know. I had her turned out of her job. I started it.” Although Mr Birling and Sheila didn’t know Eva Smith, Gerald got to know her properly. He met her in March 1911 at the Palace Bar.
They started talking and he found out that; “She hadn’t any more money and she was hungry.” So he put her up in a room and cared for her; “I insisted on daisy moving into those rooms.” The inspector is very understanding when he talks to Gerald. It is not so much an interrogation or an interview, more of a conversation with Gerald. He asks him gentle questions because Gerald is being open about his involvement with Eva/ Daisy; “Yes, when did this affair end?” Gerald accepts responsibility for her.
“She didn’t blame me at all. I wish to god she had now.” His attitude changes when he realises that Inspector Goole isn’t a real police inspector. He becomes more inquisitive and starts to probe more; “But is it a fact?” questioning if it was the same girl for each member of the family. He also states that; “There’s no real evidence that we than there was that that chap was a police inspector.” Proving to the family that it was a prank. To back-up his point further, he explains that each person was shown a picture of a girl. He says to them; “How do we know it’s the same girl?” This leaves the family pondering the situation and the inspectors identity.
Next to be questioned was Mrs Birling. Unlike Eric, she had no sympathy for Eva when she was asked to help her. Eva went to Mrs Birlings charity to ask for help but was refused because she used the name “Mrs Birling” which Sybil Birling described as; “Gross impertinence”. Sybil doesn’t accept any responsibility for Evas death because she says; “I did nothing I’m ashamed of” and; “I consider I did my duty.” This also proves she is very shallow. She then goes on to say; “First the girl herself” and “I blame the young man who was the father” shifting the blame off her and her family onto Eva/ Daisy. But she doesn’t realise she is dropping Eric into it by saying things like; “He’d be entirely responsible” and “He’d ought to be dealt with very severely”.
The last person to be interviewed by the inspector is Eric. The inspector, as with Gerald and Sheila, is sympathetic and understanding towards Eric. Eric, however, has a different attitude towards answering the Inspectors questions. He knows everything has already been said and that the Inspector already knows about his dealings with Eva/ Daisy; “You know , don’t you?” Earlier in the play he was trying to blame other members of the family. He was taking the side of the inspector during Mr Birlings Questioning; Gerald: You couldn’t have done anything else Eric: He could, He could have kept her on instead of throwing her out.”