Reviewing The Play The Inspector Calls English Literature Essay

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An inspector calls is a stage play set in the spring of 1912, women have not yet got the vote, Europe is anticipating war with Germany and English life still goes on oblivious to anything else. One evening in that spring of 1912, a family known as the Birlings are celebrating their daughter Sheila's engagement to Gerald Croft. Arthur and Sybil Birling who are Husband and wife, along with their son Eric, are extremely pleased with themselves. There is a toast to the happy couple, and Gerald Gives Sheila an engagement ring which extremely delights her.

The women then leave the room, and Eric follows them out. Mr.Birling and future son in-law Gerald discuss the fact that Gerald might have "done better for himself socially": Sheila is Gerald's social inferior. Mr.Birling reveals to Gerald that he is in the running for a knighthood in the next Honours List but everything would be ruined if a scandal was to happen. When Eric returns, Mr.Birling continues to hand out unwanted advice and he is passionately announcing his "every man for himself" self view of the world when the doorbell rings.

It's an Inspector to talk about the death of a young girl; He refuses a drink from Mr.Birling.Mr.Birling is surprised, as an ex-Lord Mayor and a senior council member, that he has never seen the Inspector before, though he knows the Brumley police force pretty well! The Inspector explains that he is here to investigate the death of a girl who died two hours ago in the Brumley Infirmary after committing suicide by drinking strong disinfectant. Her name was Eva Smith; the Inspector shows a photograph to Birling but not to anyone else.

The Inspector outlines that a chain of unconnected events might be responsible for the girl's death, It is revealed that the dead girl "Eva Smith" worked in Birling's works, from which she was dismissed after being aninstigator in an unsuccessful strike to demand better pay for Birling's workers., and for the rest of the play each member of the family is interrogated about the part they played in Eva Smith's life which other members of the family were blissfully unaware of until now. It is next discovered that Sheila Birling come across Eva Smith at Millward's, in a fit of jealously Sheila insisted that she was to be dismissed. Sheila feels extremely guilty about the part she had played in Eva's death, even though it is in an indirect way. As the play goes on it becomes clear that each member of the Birling family might have played a decisive role in her down fall which would lead to her death, this makes them all partlyresponsible.


It is now discovering Eva Smith had changed her name to Daisy Renton it is by this name Gerald Croft encountered her and this is whom she had a prolonged love affair with. Sheila Birling is not as upset as might havebeen expected, she seems to have already work out why Gerald was absent from their relationship last summer. Gerald Had put her up in a Property he was using, Daisy Renton was now Gerald's Crofts mistress and he gave her gifts of money and a roof above her head and food, but after a while, he ended the relationship to be with Shelia Burling. Gerald asks the Inspector if he could now leave as he had no more to say on the matter, Sheilanow gives Gerald the engagement ring back but letting him know that there is still a chance for love once this matter has all being sorted and laid to rest.

The Inspector now turns to Mrs Birling, who is not accepting any responsibility for the death of the girl. When Eva Smith came to encounter Mrs Birling, Eva was pregnant.Mrs Birling was chairperson a charity committee of which. Helps single women bring up their children. Mrs Birling had used her influence with the committee to refuse to help Eva. Mrs. Birling then tells the inspector that the farther should be whole responsible for the girl's death not realizing that the farther is someone close to her.

It emerges to Mrs Birling's fear, that her son Eric was, in fact, the father of the child, unsuspectinglyhas condemned her own son. When Eric returns from his lay down upstairs the Inspector interrogates him about his relationship with Eva Smith. After meeting her after a night out in a bar, when he was drunk his drinking was a problem, from that night a sexual relationship had started. He also gave her money but after a while, Eva broke off the relationship, telling Eric that he did not love her.

The Inspector now makes a final speech, to the Birling's family, "We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish." He then leaves the Birling's place of residents.

Once the inspector has left the Birling's place of residence, the family start to fight with each other. When everybody has finally calmed down Sheila suggests that the Inspector might not have been a real police inspector. Gerald has just confirmed this by talking to a policeman on patrol in the street. The Birlings begin to suspect that they have been hoaxed. The younger members of the Birling's see this inspector as someone real to them.

When they all realize that they could each have been shown a different photograph, they decide to call the Chief Constable to confirm their suspicions. They now conclude that they have all been a victim of a hoax, and they are very relieved. Gerald suggests that each photo seen was a different girl. They then check with the infirmary if there had been any suicides that day and found out that there had been none for quite some time. Everyone seems to be off the hook, even if each of their actions was immoral and reckless. Only Sheila and Eric fail to agree with that sentiment and have come to the conclusion that the overall theme was of responsibility. Mr Birling mocks his children for been so high upon their moral horse.

As was said in the sumarry this is a stage play and it has direction on how the charecters are set on the stage and lighting which give different dramatic effect.the lighting and setting of the play are important and so are costumes and props all of this telling a story of the charecters in a subtle mode. From the look of it they sit down to eat in a dinning room and are well spoken and dressed with their surroundings of wealth.without saying it shows that charecters are well off,educated people where they behave in a manner that is more fitting for more important members of sociaty.

The usage of language in this play denotes again they are well educated people and the play uses dramatic pauses and is littered with irony to put the audience at a vantage point where they know more than the charecters on the stage.As for example it mentions the maiden voyage of the titanic but as the audience knows of it hitting the ice burge and sinking losing nearly all hands on deck the cast of charecters are blissfully un aware of this.Also in theplay there isa a confident statement that there will be no war in europe but two years later WW1 will break out.

With the use of tension and timming the play keeps changing the tone from being happy and jolly to doom and gloom which can make the audience just be a little bit kept in suspence For example the confident Mr.birling was soon made to be justifying himself to the inspectors as to what part he played in her down the end of the interogation his emotions was replaced by great anxiety.

The timming in this play is very crucial as when Mr.birling told Gerald of his impending Knighthood but it will not happen if there is scandle then all of a sudden entres the inspector. The ending of this play brings a cliff hanger as they all try to work out who the inspector is and no girl was actually dead and the probabilityof a different photo for each person.then all of a sudden a real policeman phones the house to tell of a young girls death and wanted to speak with them all.