Study sets, textbooks, questions
Upgrade to remove ads
key quotes - an inspector calls
Terms in this set (41)
"[harshly] yes, but you can't. it's too late. she's dead." inspector
- short sentences make the statement harsher, with more pauses for emphasis
- "[harshly] shows he doesn't care about their feelings
- "you can't" direct address and imperative used to evoke regret and make them feel personally attacked
"she's dead" simple statement carries more power
"and was it the girl's fault?" inspector
- rhetorical question used to make the audience and shiela question guilt
"oh - why had this to happen?" inspector
- rhetorical question makes the audience seriously consider the causes of her death
"They might. but after all, it's better to ask for the Earth than to take it" inspector
- hyperbolic metaphor used to demonstrate how the wealthy and powerful take all of the resources and money with no care for others.
"the girl had been causing trouble in the works - I was quite justified." Birling
- refers to strike as "trouble", derogatory towards their efforts and shows a lack of respect or worry about strikes. this has dramatic irony given the general strike was fast approaching
- only cares about being "justified", so that he cannot be publicly shamed. the fact he may have caused a death doesn't bother him so long as he's absolved from blame.
"yes, I think you were - I know we'd have done the same thing" Gerald
- tries to absolve Mr Birling from blame, showing that he wants his approval
- generalised business men as cold hearted
"nothing to do with you Sheila. run along" Birling
- imperative, shows he's bossy
- condescending to the younger generation, shows that he views them as inferior
- possible sexism as he excludes the girls
- rudeness to the comparatively likeable Sheila inspires antipathy from the audience.
"it's what happened to her since she left Mr Birling's works that is important" Gerald
- "Mr" respectful mode of address
- trying to deflect blame from the Birlings
- wants Mr Birling's approval, possibly to integrate into the family or to for business purposes.
"I don't want any of that talk from you" Birling to Eric
- Birling can't stand disrespect, especially in front of others as he sees social status as important
- "from you" suggests he sees Eric as inferior, possibly because of his age
"[laughing] oh, for god's sake! what does it matter now whether they give you the knighthood or not?" Eric
- exclamation breaks the usual respectful tone and highlights his exasperation
- laughter contrasts with the tense and serious atmosphere. this suggests either it's bitter laughter or Eric has lost some sanity
- question invites the audience to question how the lives of the Birlings currently matter
- shows that Eric hates his father's classist priorities and is frustrated by his chasing of status.
"Do you remember what you said to me and Gerald at dinner, when you were feeling so pleased with yourself?" Eric
- question shows that Eric is trying to make his father reconsider his standpoint
- sarcastic tone shows disdain for his father's capitalist views; Priestley is using Eric to show his own feelings
"[sulkily] well, I didn't notice you standing up to him" Eric
- pointing out his father's hypocrisy
- "sulkily" suggests a child like attitude, showing that Eric is from the younger generation and suggesting he's immature, as well as angry.
"yes, I know - but still" Eric, to Birling
- even early in the book Eric is trying to question his father's ideals, but the pauses show hesitation
- this questioning foreshadows the inspector's far more aggressive investigating.
"want another glass of port?" Birling, to Eric
- friendly gesture, as Birling wants to be seen as generous infront of guests
- question suggests he's open to other's thoughts when we know he isn't
- shows ignorance towards Eric's drinking problems, proves that he doesn't confide in his father
- foreshadows Eric's drinking
"[angrily to Eric] you're the one I blame for this" Birling
- anger rather than remorse shows a lack of empathy for Eva Smith
- he disproportionally blames Eric. they all had a part in her death
- he shifts blame onto Eric to protect himself
- also shows his lack of remorse. He only holds Eric accountable as he's the only one who technically broke the law. This shows a lack of morality.
"sure to be. unless Eric's been up to something [nodding confidentially to Birling]" Gerald
- foreshadows the later scandal involving Eric.
- stage direction shows the two are confiding in each other, isolating Birling's actual son Eric.
"Hear, hear! And I think my father would agree to that!" Gerald
- exclamation shows enthusiasm
- Gerald is interested in business links as well as family links. money and family are entwined
- Gerald mentions his father, a lord, possibly as a subtle reminder of his high status.
"the girl's dead and we all helped kill her" Eric
- he refuses to avoid the fact and states it in brutal terms
- he blames everyone in the chain of events equally
- "we" shows he also blames himself
"Everything's alright now Sheila [holds up ring]" Gerald
- he's quick to forgive himself
- he's tactless in saying that everything is fine, despite the fact he had an affair
- shows a patriarchal society as Sheila is expected to accept that.
- him holding up the ring shows he expects to buy Sheila back with expensive items. capitalist viewpoint.
"I'm rather more - upset - by this business than I appear to be" Gerlad
- the hyphens show pauses, suggesting that Gerald is hesitant to talk about his feelings. This could be because he's unused to talking openly about emotion in this repressed 1910s society, or because he's struggling to articulate the powerful emotions he's feeling
- he knows that he appears indifferent, suggesting he's insecure about the way he's perceived.
"All right - I did for a time. nearly any man would have done" Gerald
- he begrudgingly admits guilt, but only with prompting
- he deflects blame from himself by claiming "any man" would have done the same
- he specifies "for a time" to shift blame off of him now
"Now shiela, don't tease him" Mrs Birling
- imperative. she's a bossy character
- defending Gerald, showing that she cares very much what the guest thinks of the family
- "tease" is a childish act, suggesting she sees Sheila as younger than she is.
"Eric - I want you for a minute" Mrs Birling
- calm tone despite the tension has an ominous feel
- isolating family members shows she's trying to regain control
- she tries to make her family behave the way she does, suggesting she feels she is superior.
"what an expression, Shiela! really the things you girls pick up these days!"
- "girl" despite the fact Sheila is an adult.
- she feels her language is inappropriate and reprimands her
- "these days" shows she is disapproving of the younger generation, she's a traditional character.
"your daughter isn't living on the moon. she's here in Brumley too" inspector
- implication that the rich shouldn't separate themselves from the struggles of the poor
- stops the shielding of Sheila by her parents, suggesting he sees her as more mature than they do
"you three young people, listen to this" Mr Birling
- he's condescending towards the younger generation
- he sees himself as wise and worthy of attention
- his self perceived wisdom is ironic because predicts the future incorrectly and the audience knows this.
- the sheer length of the monologues show that Birling isn't listening to others, he's just interested in putting across his views.
"trying long enough" Gerald
- he's impatient to marry Sheila
- suggests that courting her has been a struggle
- indicator that Gerald's motivations are financial
"I insist on being one of the family now"
- he's pushy, declaring himself part of the family
- suggests he wants to be part of the family for personal gain. status, business connections, etc.
"[half serious, half playful] yes - except for all last summer, when you never came near me" shiela
- stage direction suggests that she's trying not to cause a scene at dinner or accuse him directly, as she has no evidence, but still remains suspicious
- foreshadows Gerald's involvement in Eva Smith's death
- shows Sheila's insecurity, as she was hurt by Gerald avoiding her.
"of course she does" mrs Birling
- speaking for Sheila, showing a lack of respect for her own views
- playing peace maker between Gerald and Sheila, showing that she wants to avoid a scene and keep up appearances.
"[giving the case to her]" Gerald
- Gerald hands the case to Sheila rather than putting the ring on her finger, showing detachment. He'll give her gifts, but not interact with her physically.
- this is a classic example of the values of capitalism, where a ring is seen as more significant than actual contact.
"Be careful" mrs Birling
- suggests that the ring as a symbol of their engagement is essential and musn't be lost
- shows that she doesn't see Sheila as responsible, possibly due to her age
- imperative, showing an authorative character
"You see, we have to share something. If there's nothing else, we'll have to share our guilt." inspector
- subtle reminder that the Birlings must share guilt for their actions and not shift blame onto each other
- reflects Priestley's socialist views
- suggests that if we don't share wealth, then we should feel guilty.
why is an inspector calls a morality play?
An Inspector Calls is a morality play because all of the Birlings and Gerald Croft commit crimes which are similar to the seven deadly sins. Mr Birling is greedy because he wants more money, Sheila is guilty of wrath and envy when she spitefully complains about Eva Smith and so on. Not all of the characters manage to redeem themselves.
how does Priestley use the morality structure?
Priestley uses the morality play structure to teach a 20th-century audience a series of lessons that relate to his beliefs about social responsibility, age, gender and class. The audience is invited to enjoy judging these characters - they are also forced to question their own behaviour. Priestley would have hoped that people watching the play would have left the theatre as better people.
why is an inspector calls a crime thriller?
An Inspector Calls is a crime thriller because the action centres around the suicide of Eva Smith. Initially, as this is a suicide and not a murder investigation, it would seem that there is no clear suspect. It soon turns out that all the characters are potential suspects for different reasons.
how does Priestley use the crime thriller structure?
The crime thriller genre encourages the audience to become involved in the events of the play. In this case they would be considering who is 'more' to blame for the death of Eva Smith. Ultimately, Priestley makes the audience suspects, their behaviour is questioned and they are left wondering if they had committed any 'crimes' like the Birlings had.
"[As they stare guiltily and dumbfounded, the curtain falls]"
This is a very effective ending. The Birlings and Gerald are stunned, especially Mr and Mrs Birling and Gerald who just a minute ago had been sure they were in the clear. The audience would be shocked and left with lots of unanswered questions.
context - Priestley
- Priestley supported the UN and helped found CND, hoping Britain would drop it's nuclear weapons. he believed the only way to avoid war was through cooperation and mutual respect between countries
- 1942 Priestley and others set up a new political party, the Common Wealth Party, which argued for public ownership of land, greater democracy, and a new 'morality' in politics.
- Priestley was influential in developing the idea of the Welfare State which began to be put into place at the end of the war.
- Priestley was a radio presenter during WW1, and he was nearly taken off air due to his socialist and anti war sentiments.
context - 1912
- Women were subservient to men. All a well off women could do was get married; a poor woman was seen as cheap labour.
- There were strong distinctions between the upper and lower classes.
- young people received less respect from their elders
- there was no welfare to help people like Eva
"I hate those hard eyed dough faced women" Gerald
- he judges women mainly on their looks, he's shallow
- "hates" emphasises the depth of his feelings
- Priestley attacks the superficial views of the Edwardian era.
- ironic given it's capitalist exploitation that causes poor women to age so poorly.
Sets with similar terms
An Inspector Calls - ACT 1 Quotes
An Inspector Calls - ACT 1 Quotes
An inspector calls quotes
Other sets by this creator
IB ESS Topic 6
IB ESS Topic 5