Eva Smith is a name given to a person who cannot be identified, like the American: Jon Doe. The character Eva Smith could represent any person of low social, or financial standings, in Britain, the Inspector may not be talking about the same person every time. During each person’s own interrogation, the Inspector uses a photograph to show each character the so-called ‘Eva Smith’ that they had some part in killing. Whether the photograph was the same one every time is, again, open to interpretation. When the Inspector drops in on the Birling family, he is very dominant to start with. He is a very big and overbearing man, his clothes are in proper order (keeping to police regulations no doubt!), you can see he is a person of high morals and when he starts to speak Mr. Birling is not as in control as he thinks he is.Order now
Throughout the play the Inspector slowly starts to work out who was directly involved in the girl’s suicide, though he doesn’t show it he is mentally putting together the clues to find an answer: who is the most guilty? The Inspector uses a technique based on the saying: ‘if you give someone enough rope they will hang themselves’, this means that if you (as the Inspector) lead a person on long enough they will eventually admit to their crimes. He uses this a lot in each of the character’s ‘interrogation’.
When the Inspector talks to Mr. Birling he uses a very dominant tone, no sympathy or anything because at the start Mr. Birling denies everything and can’t admit that he had some part in Eva’s suicide. Mr. Birling gets very frustrated with the Inspector, as he is no longer in complete control. The Inspector starts to get angry with Mr. Birling when he says ‘She had a lot to say, far to much, she had to go…’ the Inspector sees this as a threat to society as he s suppressing freedom of speech. Mr. Birling is scared that he might loose his knighthood opportunity and his flawless reputation will be scarred because of the ordeal, and his cool calm “in control” faï¿½ade is shattered. Eventually Mr. Birling confesses, and feels guilt for what he did. You must look as if to intimidate him, but don’t show it, try to outsmart him and teach him. The Inspector uses sarcastic wit to lead Mr. Birling more and to eventually confess to his crime. Next, the Inspector talks to Sheila Birling.
The Inspector is not harsh to Sheila as he was to Mr. Birling, he acts more like a councellor to Sheila because he knows that Sheila is sorry about what she did and is making her feel more guilty by admitting her part in the crime. After Sheila comes her fianc, Gerald. The Inspector uses a tone similar to the one used when speaking to Sheila. He uses is sympathetic and uses a councellors approach to the ‘interrogation’.
The Inspector tries not to meddle as much as he does with Mr. Birling, because he knows that what he is saying could wreck Gerald and Sheila’s relationship apart. When speaking to Mrs. Birling the Inspector, again, uses the same dominant and demanding tone as he used whilst talking to Mr. Birling. When Mrs. Birling doesn’t know what the Inspector is going to say, she starts off by saying that; ‘We’ve done a great deal of useful work in helping deserving cases…’ but then she is made to eat her words when the Inspector starts to tell Mrs. Birling her involvement in the case.
Because of her lack of responsibility in the matter, the Inspector gets very frustrated with Mrs. Birling, this is the only time we see him frustrated in the play, you must use the frustration in moderation throughout the play, as this is the only time the Inspector shows real emotion. The Inspector finally backs Mrs. Birling into a corner and thinks he has got her, but, she starts to blame the ordeal on other people so that her slate would be clean, she even blames her family.
The last person the Inspector talks to is Eric Birling. The Inspector doesn’t lead Eric on as much as the other characters, because he more or less admits to the whole thing without the Inspector hardly saying a thing. As the Inspector sees it, Eric drinks because of his guilt and if the Inspector lead him on any more then he would have another suicide case on his hands. Mr. Birling becomes very angry with Eric when he is confessing (because he stole the money), but the Inspector stops Mr. Birling because all he wants to hear is the truth, he doesn’t care about how much trouble Eric is in with his father.
When the Inspector arrives on the scene he immediately makes a dramatic impact on the quiet and peaceful scene. Your costume will include a dark suit of the period, with a bow tie and a brown coloured trench coat over the top. You will wear a hat, take it off when you arrive on the scene and then put it back on when leaving. You will act coolly and calmly throughout the play, adding touches of emotion during your last monologue. I hope that you enjoy playing the role of the Inspector in our fine play, and we look forward to any contributions that you make to the dramatic effect of the play, thank you.