AN INSPECTOR CALLS - THEMES (Responsibility (Inspector (Doorbell…
AN INSPECTOR CALLS - THEMES
Voice of social conscience
Doorbell interrupts Birling's capitalist views
Highlights socialist deserves more importance than capitalist
Capitalism must be stopped
Final speech is a summary of his lesson re responsibility
Abuses powerful position by persuading Charity not to help pregnant girl
Believes she has no responsibility towards working class - prejudices don't change
Conflict between what is right and what is expected of him, mirrors conflict in society
Eric & Sheila
When Inspector arrives freed from parents' influence & begin to think for selves
Upper classes limited sense of social responsibility
No community responsibility
community & all that nonsense
a man has to make his own way
Business more important than worker's rights
Refuses responsibility towards Eva's death
Realises getting Eva sacked was irresponsible but didn't do anything about it
Inspector challenges her to improve her behaviour
Realises too late that his selfish actions ruined Eva's chances of improving her life
Lack of morality in older Birlings & Gerald even after mistakes pointed out
Younger generation - Eric & Sheila prepared to change & learn from mistakes
no guilt - persuades Charity not to help pregnant girl
Not trying to make family feel guilty but make society aware of difficulties faced by the "
millions of Eva Smiths & John Smiths"
When ended relationship -
"She didn't blame me at all. I wish to God she had now."
- feels guilty
Birling - no guilt - Refuses responsibility for his part in Eva's death -
"I can't accept any responsibility"
"the wretched girl's suicide"
Roles well defined for wealthy middle class
Men expected to work to support family & protect women
Interested in work & public affairs
OK for Gerald to sleep around before marriage
Birling says even in his day they "
broke out & had a bit of fun sometimes"
Middle-class women expected to marry into money so didn't have to work, have children, be social, housewife, obedient & quiet
Supposedly obsessed with "
", shopping & weddings
Sheila grows bolder & interrupts & challenges family
End of play
Birling, Gerald & Eric weaker
Inspector displays correct morals everybody should hold regardless of class
treats Inspector as inferior
disgusted re Daisy & Gerald
forgets it when threat of public scandal removed
Her husband's social superior
She was young and pretty and warm hearted - and intensely grateful"
- grateful shows he looks down on lower class - only gives in terms of finance
Aware of plight of lower class - "
counting their pennies in their dingy little back bedrooms."
Engagement means business opportunities "
You're just the kind of son-in-law I always wanted
Biggest concern is not getting "
" due to "
Uses Gerald to increase his social standing
Like many manufacturers in Victorian/Edwardian period a self-made man - aristocracy still above him
Higher classes didn't question unfair class system because works for them.
Aware of her privilege -
"I can't help thinking about this girl - destroying herself so horribly - and I've been so happy tonight."
Understands lower classes, tells Birling when says its a
"free country" - "It isn't if you can't go and work somewhere else.
He could have kept her on instead of throwing her out."
Fictional setting of Brumley used to highlight different occupations & lifestyles of rich & poor.