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An Inspector Calls - review

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls- Coursework- Rachel Pullinger. The opening scene presents the Birlings upper-middle class family at ease and perfectly contented with their law-abiding lives. It is 1912 and the family are seated at the dining table celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft. However, secrets are to be unfolded concerning the Birlings that will reveal the important message of social responsibility, of which they are lacking. The na�ve family is brought to question after the suicide of a young woman and they are forced to face facts they would rather ignore by a mysterious Inspector Goole. Before the Inspector arrives, the family are completely oblivious to the events to come, and ignorant of their own actions. Mr. Birling; the head of the house, seems bumptious as the celebration of his daughter's engagement suggests that he sees it to be economically in his interests. "Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but are working together" (Mr. Birling is an industrialist). "Your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time now". Gerald Croft; the son of a business rival of Mr. Birling, appears; at the beginning of the play, to be a respectable, well-bred, upper-class man who is getting married to Sheila Birling. Following the basic storyline, he has a secret that was involved in the death of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton that is uncovered. ...read more.

Middle

Birling will react. Although the interviews with the Inspector get more and more dramatic Gerald's actions are softened by those of Eric; the son. The tension is at its highest peak when Eric is being cross-examined and his secret is revealed, the relationship between Daisy Renton and him. It is also the most disturbing part of the play for the family, especially for Mr. Birling. He learns that his own son is shown to be a thief and is an alcoholic, but by the worst, he was responsible for impregnating Daisy. Mr. Birling exclaims "you damned fool - why didn't you come to me when you found yourself in this mess?" Eric's response - "because you're not the kind of chap a man could turn to when he's in trouble" this indicates that Eric and his father have never been close. In spite of Eric's weak and at times shallow personality, as reflected by his heavy drinking, stealing and womanising, he is shown to have a heart. This is shown by his attitude towards his mother, where he blames her for his baby and Daisy's death. "You killed her. She came to you to protect me and you turned her away". Mrs. Birling has her view of her family shattered by Eric. ...read more.

Conclusion

The return call from the hospital stuns them and all realise that they will be damaged by the investigation to come. Not only will they have to repeat the evenings events but they will have to explain why they knew of a dying patient prior to her admission to hospital implicating them all in her death. To create a feeling of mystery and power I imagine the inspector to be an older man, stocky build, almost softly spoken, and not too tall. Suited as worn by officials at that time, not conspicuous. The inspector shouldn't move much. His manners should be direct, very little body language, and he should hold eye contact with intense stares. He must show that he can't be intimidated as Mr Birling attempts to, almost as they meet. "I was an olderman for years and lord mayor two years ago- and I'm still on the bench!" informing the inspector that he is a public figure and a magistrate, more used to handing out punishment rather than being questioned himself by the police. Mr and Mrs Birling are both angry with the inspector; they are social climbers and believe that they are beyond criticism. Personally, I believe that Mrs Birling is the most to blame for Eva Smiths death. As you can survive changing and loosing jobs, and broken relationships, but Mrs Birling refused her charitable support, which would make the difference to Eva between a new start at life, or death. ...read more.

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