Which Characters Change Most Throughout 'an Inspector Calls' And Why Do The Change?

1147 words - 5 pages

Which characters change the most through the course of the play and why do they change?

This essay will be looking at which characters change and why throughout the play 'An Inspector Calls'. 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945 by J.B. Priestley and is set in the spring of 1912. The play is about the Birlings, an upper class family who are paid an unexpected visit from the mysterious Inspector Goole. They are thoroughly interrogated by Goole, and eventually all end up having some sort of link to the death of Eva Smith, a pregnant ex-worker of Mr Birling’s factory.
The first character we will be looking at is Sheila, Mr and Mrs Birling’s daughter. At the beginning of 'An Inspector ...view middle of the document...

The next character is Eric, Sheila’s brother. At the start of the play, Eric seems slightly out of sync with the rest of his family. We can see this from the way he laughs in the middle of a conversation and the way Sheila reacts. He does not seem to have a very good relationship with his father, and we can see this from the impatience that he expresses when Mr Birling makes a toast. ‘We’ll drink to their health and be done with it.’ We can see that he is fed up with his father and his constant talk of business. It is also made known that he is a philanderer. ‘I wasn’t in love with her or anything, but I liked her...’ This shows that he was using her, and that he took advantage of those weaker than him. The Inspector’s visit has an effect on Eric that is similar to Sheila’s. By the end of the play, Eric is aware of his crime and he exemplifies his shame and guilt. His relationship with his father is further distanced when it is revealed that Eric stole money from him. ‘Because you’re not the kind of father a chap could go to when he’s in trouble.’ This openly exposes Eric’s opinion of his father’s parental skills as being inadequate. Eric and Sheila’s remorse over the death of Eva Smith brings them together. We can see this when Eric sarcastically says ‘That’ll be terrible for her won’t it?’ It is blatant that Eric has taken Sheila’s side over his mothers, where as at the beginning of the play it almost certainly would have been the other way around. This breakdown of family relationships further highlights the impact of the Inspector’s visit.
The next character to look at is Mr Birling, the head of the household. Mr Birling is greedy and self-centred, and he remains this way throughout the play. His business comes first, even before his family. Even when his daughter becomes engaged, his first thought is still the business prospects of the two families coming together.
‘You’ve brought us together, and perhaps we may look forward to the time when Crofts and the Birlings are no longer competing, but...

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