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Encyclopedia > An Inspector Calls
An Inspector Calls
Written by J. B. Priestley
Characters Mr. Arthur Birling
Mrs. Sybil Birling
Gerald Croft
Sheila Birling
Eric Birling
Inspector Goole
Eva Smith (Only mentioned and heard, never seen)
Date of premiere 1 October 1946
Country of origin Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Original language English
Subject Industry, Wealth, Relationships & Morality
Genre Drama
Setting The dining-room of the Birlings' house in Brumley (spring, 1912).
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An Inspector Calls is a play written in 1944-1945 by the British dramatist J. B. Priestley. It was first performed in 1946 in two Moscow theatres as no London theatres were available. It was then first produced in London at the New Theatre on 1 October 1946. It shows the inter-connectedness of people in the drama of human existence, and reflects Priestley's socialist views whilst outlining the problems he saw with capitalism. However, it consistently advocates duty and individual conscience, and as such is not so much collectivist as individualist, focusing on the importance of individuals voluntarily helping others.. John Boynton Priestley, OM (born 13 September 1894, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, died 14 August 1984, Warwickshire) was an English writer and broadcaster . ... is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... For the business meaning, see Wealth (economics). ... See: relational model personal relationship mathematical relationship, including: inverse relationship direct relationship relation (mathematics). ... Morality (from the Latin manner, character, proper behavior) has three principal meanings. ... For other uses, see Drama (disambiguation). ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... A dramatist is an author of dramatic compositions, usually plays. ... John Boynton Priestley, OM (born 13 September 1894, Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, died 14 August 1984, Warwickshire) was an English writer and broadcaster . ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Moscow (disambiguation). ... Serge Sudeikins poster for the Bat Theatre (1922). ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Religious socialism Key Issues People and organizations Related subjects Socialism refers to a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... For judgements of value about collectivism and individualism, see individualism and collectivism. ...


Dramatic presentation

  • The play is set in Chad and revolves around the questioning of a family by Inspector Goole about the suicide of a young woman that the family knew. Many events which happen after the play are contradicted by Arthur Birling (such as the Titanic being unsinkable and that war with Germany would never happen). These are examples of dramatic irony.
  • The play takes place in one set (the dining room of the Birlings' house), in real time. This is a dramatic device that keeps the audience's attention on the dialogue as well as the timing of the entrances and exits. Foreshadowing is also a large part throughout the play.
  • Another dramatic technique or device is how J. B. Priestley ends his acts. Each time, near the end of the act, the inspector drops a bombshell of information that we are 'forced' to think about in the time we have after the acts. He makes us ponder over all that happened in that act.

For other uses, see Suicide (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Titanic (disambiguation). ... Adolf Hitler - an example of visual irony Irony is a form of speech in which the real meaning is concealed or contradicted by the words used. ... Real time is a term used to describe a motion picture, television or radio program, or computer game wherein the events depicted take place entirely within the span of time that lasts from the beginning of the depiction to the end, and at the same rate. ... Novels and short stories do not simply come from nowhere. ... This article is about Foreshadowing, the literary device. ...

Characters of an inspector calls

The Birling Family

The Birling family is built completely on hypocrisy: everyone is hiding something. The relationships in the book come crumbling down when the inspector forces, in the case of Arthur Birling and Sybil Birling, and allows, in the cases of the three others, the characters to tell the truth. When this is said relationships break. The younger generation, meaning Gerald, Eric and Sheila, seemed to have actually learned that they had made mistakes not according to the "law" but they had made a mistake "morally". After Gerald leaves and comes back it seems that he has forgotten all he learnt and went back to his old ways. Hypocrisy is the act of condemning or calling for the condemnation of another person when the critic is guilty of the act for which he demands that the accused be condemned. ... Morality is a complex of principles based on cultural, religious, and philosophical concepts and beliefs, by which an individual determines whether his or her actions are right or wrong. ...

Mr Arthur Birling

Mr Birling is the head of the Birling household. This "portentous" character has made his own way in life, and has an inflated opinion of himself and his social class; but his less comfortable upbringing ensures that he is less social than either his wife or Gerald, shown by his praise for the cook’s quality of cooking. He is dedicated to his business and it is implied that he enjoys the engagement of his daughter and Gerald Croft because it allows for the possibility of Crofts Limited and Birling Company working together in the future. He also contributed to the death of Eva Smith, as he fired her from her job, and caused her to lose everything. Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... In economics, a business (also called firm or enterprise) is a legally recognized organizational entity designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers or corporate entities such as governments, charities or other businesses. ... “Engaged” redirects here. ...

Mrs Sybil Birling

Sybil Birling is the mother of Sheila and Eric Birling and, although they are both in their twenties, she describes and sees them as children and often patronises them. She is astutely aware of the importance of social class at the time, and the varying ranks of the characters. She also is completely oblivious to what is happening to her family and to their feelings. She was the last of the characters to contribute towards the suicide of Eva Smith, after taking offence at the character's posing as a "Miss Birling". This, as the Inspector soon reveals, was merely because she had just finished a relationship with her son, Eric Birling. A male Caucasian toddler child A child (plural: children) is a young human. ...

Sheila Birling

Sheila is "a very pretty girl in her early twenties, very pleased with life and rather excited" with her engagement to Gerald, though she shows herself not to be wholly naïve with her suspicious attitude towards Gerald’s extended absence the previous summer, during which time she suspects he might have been having an affair. She begins the play as a playful, self-centered girl who loves attention. She becomes the character who is most sympathetic to Eva’s plight, showing remorse and guilt on hearing the news of her part in the girl's suicide. As the play progresses, Sheila becomes more rebellious towards her parents. She becomes aware of the situation they are facing and, towards the end, figures it out and promises to change. Naïve is Industrial rock group KMFDMs fifth album, released in 1990. ... An affair may refer to a form of nonmonogamy, to infidelity or to adultery. ... Egocentrism is the practice of regarding oneself and ones own opinions or interests as most important. ... For other uses, see Suicide (disambiguation). ...

Eric Birling

Eric is the child of the family, described as "not quite at ease, half-shy, half-assertive". He does not have an easy relationship with his father. He begins the play being cheerful, enjoying the family occasion although slightly drunk. At the end of the play he decides to give up drinking as he thinks it has led to the death of Eva Smith and their unborn child. As well as Sheila, Eric is also sympathetic towards Eva Smith and states that he is "ashamed" of his parents, especially his mother. Drunkenness, in its most common usage, is the state of being intoxicated with alcohol (i. ... Fetus at eight weeks A fetus (alternatively foetus or fœtus) is an embryo in later stages of development, from the third month of pregnancy until birth in humans. ...

Other Characters

Inspector Goole

Inspector Goole plays a very big part in this play as he is the detective investigating the case. At first he seems a shady character; this continues throughout the story. The Inspector seems omniscient, and extremely adept at directing – he often tells the characters "to settle things afterwards" in order to make sure that the conversation is going in the direction he wants and imposing himself on conversations: this serves to add to the sense of the supernatural and unknown that surrounds him. Gumshoe redirects here. ... For the album by Swans, see Omniscience (album). ... For other uses, see Supernatural (disambiguation). ...

The Inspector is the mouthpiece to priestleys own ideas and views.

In his final address to the Birlings and Gerald, the Inspector summarizes the actions of each character and then gives a moralistic speech on how he sees what has occurred as wrong. The precise nature of the Inspector remains a mystery, although he is largely seen as a mouthpiece for Priestley's opinions. Moralism is the philosophy of adherence to morality, created by Max Shapiro, of 20th century Los Angeles. ... Inspector is a rank in many police forces. ...

Eva Smith

The unseen suicide victim whose death is the motivating factor for the entire play. Throughout the play she is portrayed as a moral, kind person. She does not accept stolen money, although she is quite destitute without it. During the play she is given various names under which various of the other characters have known her as well as at least one photograph of her being shown to her acquaintances. This leads some of the characters to believe that she is in fact various women stitched together by the Inspector. Unseen characters are a common device in drama. ... This article is about the use of the moral in storytelling. ... Destitution is an extreme state of poverty, in which a person is almost completely lacking in resources or means of support. ... For other uses, see Alias. ... For other uses, see Photograph (disambiguation). ... A composite character is a character in a fictional work that is composed of two or more individuals. ...

Gerald Croft

Sheila's fiancé and son of rival business owner that challanges Arthur Birling's company, but which, with marriage, he hopes to combine. He is referred many times to be an honest man who does his job proudly. His responsibility in this mystery was that he housed, clothed, fed, and eventually made love to Eva, staying away from his fiancé for the whole summer, the revelation of which causes trouble in his relationship with Sheila. An engagement is an agreement by a couple to enter into marriage at some future time, usually accompanied by a formal or informal announcement to friends and family. ... Honesty is also the name of two plants; see Honesty (plant) . Honesty, the quality of being honest, is a value which can be defined in multiple ways. ... An engagement is an agreement by a couple to enter into marriage at some future time, usually accompanied by a formal or informal announcement to friends and family. ...

Stage, Film, TV and Radio

An Inspector Calls was first produced at the New Theatre in London in October 1946 with Ralph Richardson as "Inspector Goole", Harry Andrews as "Gerald Croft", Margaret Leighton as "Sheila Birling", Julian Mitchell as "Arthur Birling", Marian Spencer as "Sybil Birling" and Alec Guinness as "Eric Birling". This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Sir Ralph David Richardson (19 December 1902 – 10 October 1983) was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, did their best to make the transition to film. ... Harry Andrews (November 10, 1911 - March 6, 1989) was a British actor. ... Margaret Leighton (February 26, 1922 – January 13, 1976) was an English actress. ... Julian Mitchell (born May 1, 1935) is a British screenwriter, especially for TV. He was screenwriter for many Inspector Morse episodes. ... Sir Alec Guinness CH, CBE (2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an Academy Award and Tony Award-winning English actor. ...

The first Broadway production opened at the Booth Theatre on October 21, 1947 and ran until January 10, 1948. The production was staged by Cedric Hardwicke. For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... The Booth Theatre in 2006 The Booth Theatre on September 25, 2005 The Booth Theatre is a legitimate Broadway theatre located at 222 West 45th Street in midtown-Manhattan. ... is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 10th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1948 (MCMXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the 1948 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke (February 19, 1893 - August 6, 1964) was a British actor. ...

Tom Baker played "Inspector Goole" in a 1987 production directed by Peter Dews and designed by Daphne Dare that opened at The Theatre Clwyd on April 14th then transferred to London's Westminster Theatre on May 13, 1987. The cast included Pauline Jameson as "Sybil Birling", Peter Baldwin as "Arthur Birling", Charlotte Attenborough as "Sheila Birling", Simon Shepherd as "Gerald Croft" and Adam Godley as "Eric Birling". For other persons named Tom Baker, see Tom Baker (disambiguation). ... Peter Kenneth Dews is a British philosopher, in the fields of critical theory and continental philosophy. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This is an article about the actor, for the Australian Labor politician, see Peter Baldwin (Australian politician) Peter Baldwin is an British actor, born in 1933, best known for his role of Derek Wilton in the UK soap opera Coronation Street. ... Simon Shepherd (born 20 August 1956 in Bristol, England) is an actor, most famous for playing Dr. Will Preston in Peak Practice. ... Adam Godley is and actor who played Mr. ...

In 1992 the play was successfully revived by Stephen Daldry for the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre on September 11, 1992 in a production influenced by expressionism and later transferred to the Aldwych Theatre on August 25, 1993 and then to the Garrick Theatre on October 24, 1995; the production starred Kenneth Cranham as "Inspector Goole" (later replaced by Barry Foster and Philip Whitchurch), Richard Pasco as "Arthur Birling" (later replaced by Julian Glover, Edward Peel and William Gaunt), Barbara Leigh Hunt as "Sybil Birling" (later replaced by Judy Parfitt, Margaret Tyzack and Marjorie Yates), Diana Kent as "Sheila Birling" (later replaced by Sylvestra Le Tourzel) and Louis Hillyer as "Gerald Croft". Daldrey's production was transferred to Broadway in 1994, where it ran at New York City's Royale Theatre from April 27th to May 28, 1995. Kenneth Cranham recreated his role as "Inspector Goole" with Philip Bosco as "Arthur Birling" and Rosemary Harris as "Sybil Birling" (later replaced by Sian Phillips). Stephen David Daldry, CBE (born May 2, 1961 in Dorset, England, United Kingdom) is a British movie director and producer. ... The Royal National Theatre from Waterloo Bridge The Royal National Theatre is a building complex and theatre company located on the South Bank in London, England immediately east of the southern end of Waterloo Bridge. ... The Scream by Edvard Munch (1893) which inspired 20th century Expressionists Portrait of Eduard Kosmack by Egon Schiele Rehe im Walde by Franz Marc Elbe Bridge I by Rolf Nesch On White II by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. ... Aldwych Theatre in April 2007 The Aldwych Theatre is a West End theatre, located on Aldwych in the City of Westminster. ... Londons Garrick Theatre was designed by Walter Emden, with CJ Phipps brought in as a consultant to help with the planning on the difficult site, which included an underground river. ... Kenneth Cranham (born on December 12, 1944 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) is a film, television and stage actor who has appeared in Layer Cake, Gangster No. ... Philip Whitchurch is a British actor. ... Richard Pasco as Boris Zargo in Rasputin, the Mad Monk (1966) Richard Edward Pasco (b. ... Julian Wyatt Glover (born March 27, 1935) is an English actor. ... Edward Peel is a British actor. ... Appeared in 1963/64/65 series SGT CORK as DC Bob Marriat made 60 1hr episodes with John Barrie who stared as Sgt Cork Alexandra Bastedo, Stuart Damon and William Gaunt in The Champions. ... Judy Parfitt (born on 7 November 1935 in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England) is a British theatre, film and television actress. ... Margaret Tyzack (born 19 September 1931 in London, England) is a British actress. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... Kenneth Cranham (born on December 12, 1944 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) is a film, television and stage actor who has appeared in Layer Cake, Gangster No. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Rosemary Harris (born September 19, 1930[1] in Ashby, Suffolk, England) is an Academy Award nominated English actress and a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame. ... Siân Phillips, CBE is a Welsh actress who was born Jane Elizabeth Ailwên Phillips in Betws, Carmarthenshire, Wales, on May 14, 1934. ...

To date, the only film version of An Inspector Calls (1954 film) was released in Great Britain by Watergate Productions LTD with a screenplay adapted from the play by Desmond Davis and directed by Guy Hamilton. Alastair Sim starred as "Inspector Goole" (called "Poole"), and the cast included Jane Wenham as "Eva Smith", Eileen Moore as "Sheila Birling", Arthur Young as "Arthur Birling", Brian Worth as "Gerald Croft", Olga Lindo as "Sybil Birling" and Bryan Forbes as "Eric Birling". For the play on which this film is based see An Inspector Calls An Inspector Calls (TV movie) An Inspector Calls is a 1954 film directed by Guy Hamilton and written for the screen by Desmond Davis. ... Guy Hamilton (born September 11, 1922 [1]) is a noted English film director. ... Alastair Sim in Scrooge (1951) (aka A Christmas Carol) Alastair Sim, CBE (October 9, 1900 – August 19, 1976) was a Scottish character actor, whose comic appearance ensured him success in a string of classic British films. ... Title page of a book with Francis Hutchesons essay dismissing charges against Jane Wenham. ... Arthur Young (September 11, 1741 - April 12*, 1820) was an English writer on agriculture, economics and social statistics. ... Brian Worth is an American who was the runner-up on the television series Average Joe:Hawaii. ... Bryan Forbes, CBE (born John Theobald Clark on July 22, 1926 in London) is an English film director, actor and writer. ...

A three-part television mini-series of An Inspector Calls (1982 television version) was produced on BBC Television and directed by Michael Simpson. Bernard Hepton starred as "Inspector Goole", and the cast included Sarah Berger as "Sheila Birling", Nigel Davenport as "Arthur Birling", Simon Ward as "Gerald Croft", Margaret Tyzack as "Sybil Birling" and David Sibley as "Eric Birling". A miniseries, in a serial storytelling medium, is a production which tells a story in a limited number of episodes. ... BBC Television is a service of the British Broadcasting Corporation which began in 1932. ... Bernard Hepton (born October 19, 1925 in Bradford, England) is a British actor. ... Nigel Davenport (born 23 May 1928) is an English actor. ... Simon Ward (born London, October 19, 1941) is an English actor. ... Margaret Tyzack (born 19 September 1931 in London, England) is a British actress. ... David Sibley, is an English actor, best known for character roles in several cult television series. ...

On February 23, 2008 BBC Radio 7 broadcast an audio version of the play adapted by John Foley (originally aired on the BBC World Service) starring Bob Peck as "Inspector Goole", John Woodvine as "Arthur Birling" and Maggie Steed as "Sybil Birling". The production was directed by Rosalyn Ward. The original logo of BBC 7. ... The BBC World Service is one of the most widely recognised international broadcasters, transmitting in 33 languages to many parts of the world through multiple technologies. ... Bob Peck (August 23, 1945 – April 4, 1999) was an English stage, television and film actor, who came to acting relatively late in life. ... John Woodvine in the Doctor Who serial The Armageddon Factor John Woodvine (born 21 July 1929 in Tyne Dock, County Durham) is a British actor who has appeared in over sixty film and television roles. ... Maggie Steed is a British actress, often seen on television. ...

Other information

An Inspector Calls is studied by GCSE English Literature students in Northern Ireland, England and Wales and by Standard Grade/Intermediate 2 level English students in Scotland. GCSE is an acronym that can refer to: General Certificate of Secondary Education global common subexpression elimination - an optimisation technique used by some compilers This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... The term English literature refers to literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; Joseph Conrad was Polish, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, Salman Rushdie is Indian, V.S... Northern Ireland (Irish: , Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a constituent country of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the country. ...

A full-cast unabridged audio adaptation and comprehensive analysis was released on audio CD and MP3-CD in the United Kingdom by SmartPass in 2004 as part of their "Audio Education Study Guides" series and won the following awards:

  • Spoken Word Awards for Best Drama 2004
  • Best Original Audio 2005
  • Publishing Initiative 2005

The cast of the audio adaptation included David Thorpe as "Inspector Goole", Terrence Hardinman as "Arthur Birling", Pat Gallimore as "Sybil Birling", Sara Bowes as "Sheila Birling', Peter Lindford as "Gerald Croft' and Christopher Kelham as "Eric Birling". The "PassMaster" (the guide to both the play and the analysis) was played by Joan Walker and the accopanying astudent "Will" was played by Will Hanksworth. J.B. Priestley's voice and quotes in the analysis were performed by Ben Crowe. There have been several people named David Thorpe: David Thorpe (artist), b. ... North Tyneside is a metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear in the North East of England. ...

Following its first performances, the play received criticism due mainly to the fact that the title character can be interpreted in so many ways, as can the ending.

Goole: True or False?

  • Priestley hints several times at Goole being a figment of the Birlings' drunken imagination; the most obvious clue is that Goole's name sounds the same as the word 'Ghoul'.
  • By the end of the play the Birlings discover that there is in fact no Inspector on the force named Goole, so the validity of Goole's claims are diminished massively. However, this does not diminsh his words, he is still right as Eric and Sheila realised.
  • The Birlings also realise that due to the arrangement of the photographs he showed each of them, the girl they thought they all knew could have just been different girls, therefore it is unlikely that any one of them actually is dead. But either way, they were still in the wrong for doing these things.
  • The play closes as Arthur Birling is called by the local police and finds that there has in fact been a girl that had commited suicide in exactly the way the Inspector describes. However, as she has only died in the prior few moments, there is no possible way for anyone to know this.

See also

For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... Individualism is a term used to describe a moral, political, or social outlook that stresses human independence and the importance of individual self-reliance and liberty. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... A union (labor union in American English; trade union, sometimes trades union, in British English; either labour union or trade union in Canadian English) is a legal entity consisting of employees or workers having a common interest, such as all the assembly workers for one employer, or all the workers...


Summary of An Inspector Calls

Bitesize Revision

  Results from FactBites:
An Inspector Calls - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (764 words)
During a party celebrating the engagement of the daughter of the upper middle-class Birling family to the son of another wealthy family, an inspector (Inspector Goole) calls and announces that he wishes to ask some questions concerning the suicide of a young girl.
After the inspector leaves it emerges that at the time at which the main events of the story are taking place there has been no suicide and that the inspector was not a real policeman.
Another theory is that the inspector is the ghost of the unborn child of Eva Smith.
What to expect when a Health and Safety inspector calls (1233 words)
On a normal inspection visit an inspector would expect to look at the workplace, the work activities, your management of health and safety, and check that you are complying with health and safety law.
Where an activity involves, or will involve, a risk of serious personal injury, the inspector may serve a prohibition notice prohibiting the activity immediately or after a specified time period, and not allow it to be resumed until remedial action is taken.
An inspector will meet or speak to employees or their representatives during a visit, wherever possible, unless this is a clearly inappropriate because of the purpose of the visit.
  More results at FactBites »



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