An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley - GCSE Exam Revision - Characters & Setting
Owner of Birling and Company.
Husband of Mrs Sybil Birling.
Father of Sheila and Eric Birling.
He is selfish, Capitalist, unsympathetic,
uncaring, proud of his achievements.
Birling is presented on screen with a
Doesn’t agree with strikes or workers
Social betterment, he wants a knighthood.
He has Communist views and beliefs.
• She is the chairwomen of the Brumley
Women’s Charity Organisation.
• Wife of Mr Arthur Birling.
• Mother of Sheila and Eric Birling.
• She refuses to take any blame for the
death of Eva Smith.
• Unaware of Eric’s alcoholism.
• He is a figure of authority. He deals with
each member of the family very firmly.
• He works very systematically; he likes to
deal with "one person and one line of
enquiry at a time." His method is to
confront a suspect with a piece of
information and then make them talk.
• We find out that he isn’t a real Inspector
at the end of the play.
• Daughter of Arthur and Sybil Birling.
• Engaged to Gerald Croft.
• Sheila is the only character that is
clearly devastated by the suicide of
• She has Socialist views.
• Her Father is keen for her to marry
Gerald because of his social status.
• Son of Sybil and Arthur Birling and brother of
• In his early twenties.
• At the start of the play he is described as
“not quite at ease, half shy and half
• He drinks ‘pretty hard’.
• He meets Eva at the palace bar when he is
really drunk and basically forces her way into
her apartment. They sleep together that
night, then he sees her again a week later.
Eva then tells him that she is pregnant.
• He is described as "an attractive chap about
• Son of Lord and Lady Croft.
• His Father is Sir George Croft who is Mr
Birling's business rival.
• Engaged to Sheila Birling.
• He is not as willing as Sheila to admit his
part in the girl's death to the Inspector and
initially pretends that he never knew her.
• The Inspector is harsh on him.
• We don’t actually meet Eva Smith in the
play as she has drunk some disinfectant
and she is in the infirmary.
• She later dies as a result of suicide.
• She stood up to Mr Birling and asked for
higher wages, she was willing to stand up
against injustice. This resulted in her being
sacked from Birling and Company.
• She was working class.
• Both of her parents were dead.
• She had a job at Milwards.
From each according to his ability, to each
according to his contribution. Emphasis on
profit being distributed among the society or
workforce to complement individual
• Capital (or the “means of production”) is
owned, operated and traded for the purpose
of generating profits for private owners or
shareholders. Emphasis on individual profit
rather than on workers or society as a whole.
• 1914-1918. In the First World War at the age
of 20, he joined the 10th Duke of Wellington’s
Regiment. He served on the front line in
France, he was wounded and gassed.
• 1919. He was awarded a place at Trinity Hall
in Cambridge University. He studied literature,
history and political science.
•1922. He began work in London as a
journalist and The New Statesman.
•1926. The General Strike hits the British
•1929. The American economy is hit by the
Wall Street Crash.
•1945. He writes an Inspector Calls
What is the name of Arthur Birling's company?
Who are his children?
Name the Birling family.
Define Capitalism and Socialism.
What was Sybil Birling unaware of?
Who is Sheila engaged to?
When did J.B. Priestley write An Inspector Calls?