Understanding An Inspector Calls Flashcards

What is the setting of An Inspector Calls?

The play is set entirely in the dining room of the Birling family’s house in 1912, where they are celebrating Sheila Birling’s engagement to Gerald Croft.

Who is Inspector Goole and what is his role in the play?

Inspector Goole is a mysterious figure who investigates the Birling family’s involvement in Eva Smith’s death, serving as Priestley’s voice for his moral and social beliefs.

How does J.B. Priestley use Mr Birling to critique capitalism?

Mr Birling, a self-centered capitalist, makes confident but erroneous predictions about the future, like claiming the Titanic is “absolutely unsinkable.” His ignorance and arrogance are used to critique capitalist views.

How does Sheila Birling change over the course of the play?

Sheila undergoes significant change, becoming aware of her family’s moral flaws and accepting responsibility for her actions contributing to Eva Smith’s demise.

What is the significance of the inspector’s speech about ‘fire and blood and anguish’?

The inspector’s speech warns the Birling family about the severe consequences of social negligence and stresses the importance of social responsibility.

How does the play An Inspector Calls end?

The play ends with a phone call revealing that a young girl has died on her way to the infirmary, and an inspector is coming to question the Birlings, mirroring the play’s beginning and suggesting a cyclical nature of their responsibility.

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