This job of making Mr. Birling feel responsible for the death of Eva Smith is made very difficult by the reaction the Inspector gets from Mr. Birling. Mr Birling shows no signs of remorse. He does not care. All he cares about is getting in trouble with the police and how it will influence his reputation. This shows the immorality of Mr. Birling and reveals his true nature, a selfish, nasty person. Arthur Birling abstains from accepting any responsibility for the death of Eva Smith.
Mr. Birling and the Inspector continue to be in strong contrast throughout the play. The Inspector is very ethical in all that he says and how he acts. This ethical tone continues throughout the play. “One Eva Smith has gone-but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still with us, their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness all intertwined with our lives…” He is more than just an Inspector.
He is a social commentator. Like a judge and jury, he is only interested at getting justice and sentencing the guilty to the right punishment. “…and if man does not learn this than they will be taught it in blood and fire and anguish.”
He cares about what happen to the ‘victims’, society and wants a social change for equality. He has many principles and morals. We can see this by the way he acts to the Birling’s and Mr. Birling in specific. Also how he strives to get them all to feel very guilty for her death, that be their punishment.
Birling represents all the Capitalists and all the rich employees who crush all the poor people of society with low wages so that they have no chance of getting anywhere in life. Priestly is showing by the representation of Mr. Birling the fault of employers and rich people, Capitalists in particular. He is trying to outline the immorality of Capitalism through what it causes and how it affects workers all through the representation of Mr. Birling.
The language used by the Crofts and Birlings shows their social attitudes. The Birlings and Crofts see themselves as “respectable” citizens, of the ‘right’ social class. Men are referred to as “chaps.” Gerald calls Mr Birling “Sir.” Arthur exclaims “By jingo!” when he figures out that they have all been deceived by the Inspector. That is a very middle class phrase of the time, as are ‘squiffy’ and ‘jolly well’. Euphemisms are also used quite frequently. Whenever the characters found anything remotely offensive they would use euphemisms. “It is said that Eva Smith ‘went on the streets’ where she led ‘another kind of life’ and became a ‘woman of the town.’ These are just all euphemisms for ‘She became a prostitute’
Daisy Renton is a ‘girls of that sort’ (lower class), and has found herself in a particular condition (pregnant). This is very ironic as the whole play is based on finding out the truth. You could say that using euphemisms is doing the exactly the opposite. It just covers up the things they don’t want to think about. But Inspector Goole is again in heavy contrast to the Birlings and Crofts. He uses very different language. Firstly he doesn’t mess about but speaks his mind. He thus does not waffle. The Inspector describes Eva Smiths death as having
“Burnt her inside out.” This is a very clever device used. It shapes the audiences response as we feel sympathy for her and all the oppressed victims of society and therefore look badly upon capitalism as that is what had caused this. It is a contrast with Mr. Birlings long drawn out speeches at the beginning of act1. Secondly he uses silence, he has a “…disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking.” This is rather communication rather than language but acts in the same way. Lastly he is rude and impertinent as Sybil and Arthur find him very offensive because of this manner and language he uses.
The significance of the lighting being pink at the start of the play, signifies the room being a cosy place and a close family get together. A very warm, pleasant environment. Priestly, by making the light brighter and harder when the Inspector walks in wants to firstly show the importance of this character and show how the mood has changed. From this cosy, warm environment it has changed to bright and hard environment which demonstrates that the ‘spotlight’ is being put on the family and that they are now under interrogation and the truth being revealed and is coming out in the open, signifying the bright light.
The use of the doorbell interrupting Mr. Birlings speech is a signal from Priestly that he completely disagreed with everything that Mr. Birling said. It immediately cuts of Mr. Birling so as to mean that what he is talking about is nonsense. Mr. Birling says before the Inspector actually rings the bell “when things are so much easier, is that a man has to make his own way, has to look after himself and his family too, of course, when he has one – and so long as he does that he won’t come to much harm.” This is all proven to be, ironically, very wrong. The total opposite of what he is saying is right. They all realise this when the Inspector leaves them all as what has been revealed that night is good evidence against all that Mr. Birling says. Relating back to Priestly being an anti-Capitalist, Priestly wants to show that these Capitalists ideas of Mr. Birlings are very immoral and that the Socialist ideas should be adopted.
Introducing a new major character startles all the previous characters as they think that they are just going to have a family get-together. It builds tension in the room and raises lots of questions. Also it, in a way, splits up the family as they are interrogated one by one thus can’t argue as a family but individually. They are all singled out. The character of Mr. Birling is most shocked at the revelation of a police inspector walking into his front room. Differences between the characters could immediately be seen.
The Inspector was very calm, collected and organised. Mr. Birling was talking as though he was going to be arrested for the death of Eva Smith. He was not talking calmly but almost arguing with the calm Inspector that it was not his fault for the suicide. Mr. Birling was very guarded about the situation like the Inspector in fact. This is very ironic as the person interrogating is as protective as the one being interrogated. Almost as if they both know but are not sure what the other person knows or is going to say.