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EN: Priestley - An Inspector Calls Characters Arthur Birling (Klangasssoziation zu burly = kräftig und sterling = Sterling-> brit. Währung; Geld). He’s a prosperous factory owner (businessman), his first priority is to make money& get power! He strongly believes that “a man has to make his own way”. He’s looking forward to receiving a knighthood. He refuses to accept any responsibility for Eva’s death. Sybil Birling Wants to stick to the rules, concerned about manners (tells what the others shall do or not). She is only interested in the family-reputation. She’s very conservative, old-fashioned, selfish, cold-hearted, snobbish& egoistic. Sheila at the begin she’s snobbish, egoistic& self-confident, but in the end she thinks more clearly, critical, accepts criticism, nice, honest& responsible: she likes to change herself and feels sorry for what she had done. Her readiness to learn from experience is in a great contrast to her parents. Eric Start: makes jokes, behaves silly, lives an easy-going live, and doesn’t care about anything. He behaves half shy and half assertive (anmassend). End: starts thinking, accepts his guilt, might stop drinking that much. Gerald Croft Is good-looking, rich& clever: man about town! He’s engaged to Sheila and also son of an industrial. He doesn’t change lot during the story; stays a capitalist (just interested in money& profit). He seems to agree completely with Mr. Birling, quite the same attitude of live. Inspector Goole (Goole= Geist; spirit in death) isn’t a real inspector; more something like god because he makes them all fell guilty. His manners are quite extraordinary, rude& assertive. One of the main reasons to visit the Birling family is to make them realise, what responsibilities they have& that their behaviour has an influence on others (opposite to Mr. Birling’s moral). Eva Smith sprechender Name als Hinweis auf die Vertreterin der Mitmenschen schlechthin.. Short summary This story takes place in 1912, right before the 1st World War in Brumley, an industrial city in the North Midlands (fictive town-> associations to other real industrial towns, like e.g. Bradford, Birmingham or Burnley). The B. family is celebrating Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft, when inspector Goole arrives and tells about a girl’s (Eva Smith) suicide. After lots of questions, it turns out that they are all, more or less responsible for this tragically death. After the inspector left they find out that he wasn’t a real inspector and that no girl died on the way to the Infirmary, after swallowing some disinfectant! 1st Act The family& Gerald are celebrating Gerald& Sheila’s engagement in the dining-room. Sheila& Eric are arguing in a not really serious way, while Gerald& Mr. Birling are talking about business, politic (titanic), Mr. Birling’s way into the next honour list by getting an knighthood and about Lady Croft’s (Gerald’s mother) attitude of social classes (it looks like she isn’t too happy about the fact, that her son is engaged to a girl of a lower class). Just before the ring bells& the inspector arrives, Mr. Birling shows his outlook on life, what he had learnt in the good hard school of experience to Gerald& Eric (important sentence for the rest of the story!): “...a man has to make his own way, has to look after himself and his family..”. The inspector enters and tells about the suicide. He shows a photograph to Mr.B. and starts questioning him. It turns out that Eva Smith had been one of Mr.B. employees and later on was discharged because she asked for more money, had been refused& went on a strike (as one of the ringleaders). Sheila enters into the dining-room and gets the next to be questioned. Her fault: she had been jealous of Eva because she looked better in a specific dress. She went to the manager and told him that this girl had been very impertinent (unverschämt)…so, indirectly she made Eva lost her job. The inspector goes on& tells that Eva Smith had changed her name into Daisy Renton. Now Gerald’s faults get cleared up. He has had an affair with her the previous summer. Important questions& points about this act Why is Mr.B happy about Sheila’s engagement to Gerald? Because Gerald’s father had always been his rival. Birlings outlook of live -> the author thinks B. is wrong and will prove him wrong later in the play. Why might the inspector investigate a suicide? Because there seems to be a lot of reasons, which have driven the victim into suicide. He might think there’s a crime behind and also because he wants to made the B.family realise that they’re responsible for others. A further aspect is the author intention to show, that the whole story isn’t real. Eric’s attitude to the strike? He would have given the employees the money; to him strikes are something good. Relationship Sheila - Eric: typically brother-sister relationship, behave rude& unfriendly to each other but in principle like each other very much. What have Sheila and the inspector in common? Both of them want to know the truth, both think in a social way and also that Eva’s death had been unnecessary. Relationship Sheila- Gerald: Sheila loves him; to her he’s a ‘good catch’. On the other hand Gerald; sees mostly the business aspect of the connection-> no deep feelings! Why did Eva Smith change her name into Daisy Renton? She might had to hide something or might has wanted to start a new, better live. 2nd Act Mrs Birling came along and was told that Eric often drinks. Gerald talks about his relationship towards Daisy Renton (alias Eva Smith). After that, he went out for a walk…and the inspector turns towards Mrs B., her crime: she failed her “job” as a member of the Brumley Women’s Charity Organisation by not helping deserving cases. She refused Eva’s ask for help (she was pregnant and had no money), because she don’t like her. Important questions& points The state of the engagement after Gerald confessed his affair: Sheila solved the engagement, she broke up, but actually she isn’t very angry anymore but she needs some time to think. The inspector’s behaviour, Sheila stares at him ‘wonderingly and dubiously: because he seems to know all answers in advance. 3rd Act Eric comes back and became the next victim of Inspector Goole: he is more or less forced to confess his relationship towards Eva. He met her first in the Palace bar (as Gerald did) and stood her a few drinks, later on he was quite drunk and they went to her lodgings. After a few more dates, Eva was going to have a baby. She didn’t want Eric to marry, so he gave her enough money to keep her going, but finally she refuses even this (because she had found out that it has been stolen). The problem about the money (about fifty pounds): Eric got it from his father’s office, without asking in advance! The inspector left- the family is arguing (parents- children) and discussing until Gerald returns and exposes the inspector as not real. And after a call to the local Infirmary (no girl has been brought in this afternoon who had committed suicide by drinking disinfectant) it’s seems clear that the whole thing had been a bluff. The family is relieved… but right then the phone rings: it’s the police, a girl had committed suicide& a inspector is on the way to ask some questions… Important questions and points Mood in the dining-room: feeling of guilt, wish to learn something. The growing feeling effect of the evening’s events on the Birling family as a whole: they start to feel involved, start arguing amongst themselves, and feel bitter. They make each other responsible for what has happened. For Sheila it doesn’t matter whether the inspector is real or not because what’s important to her is that she now knows the truth. But to her parents it’s seems to make a big difference because the confession to a real police man would have meant a public scandal. Sheila& Eric: they learnt form their mistakes, they become more mature and ‘real grown-ups’. Mr. & Mrs. Birling as well as Gerald gets on the point of accepting some responsibility not for very long, all in one they haven’t learn anything! They want to forget everything, pretend nothing had happened. They become self-confident again and that’s why the second phone call takes place: the author wants to prove them wrong! The 2nd call: shows the audience clearly the moral of the play, should make think about the play in general. Autobiography John Boynton Priestley was born in 1894 in Bradford, a industrial city in the north of England (refers to Brumley) and died in 1984. He was an ‘all-round writer’ what means he wrote all different sorts of literature. He’s childhood was all in one a peaceful time in a moderate socialistically atmosphere. Mostly all of his stories were influenced by the 1st World War, where he had been a frond- soldier. He often describes the live of simple people by turning it dramatically into an ethical and political position. After this experience, he went to Cambridge studying history, politic and literature. 1929 he broke through because of his novel ‘the Good Companions’. In ‘an inspector calls’ (written right after the 2nd World War; 1945) he shows his attitude towards a human socialism. Typically for his work is the criticism towards all antisocial attitudes, e.g. greed (Habgier) and inconsiderate power struggle (rücksichtsloses Machtstreben). General Things Who is the inspector? No real person of interest, more something like a personified bad conscience of guilt and internal voice. Moral of the play: refute (wiederlegen) mr.B’s confession of faith / philosophy of live: ‘…community and all that nonsense....’, ‘...A man has to mind his own business &look after himself and his own....’ by his moral demand for: ‘...One Eva Smith has gone - but there are millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smith still left with us…We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. An Inspector Calls Summary One evening in the spring of 1912, the Birlings are celebrating their daughter Sheila’s engagement to Gerald Croft, who is also present. Husband and wife Arthur and Sybil Birling, along with their son Eric, are pleased with themselves. Birling toasts the happy couple, and Gerald presents Sheila with a ring which absolutely delights her. Birling makes a lengthy speech, not only congratulating Gerald and Sheila, but also commenting on the state of the nation. He predicts prosperity, particularly referring to the example of the “unsinkable” Titanic, which set sail the week earlier. Birling styles himself as a “hard-headed man of business.” The women leave the room, and Eric follows them. Birling and Gerald discuss the fact that Gerald might have “done better for [himself] socially”: Sheila is Gerald’s social inferior. Birling confides to Gerald that he is in the running for a knighthood in the next Honors List. When Eric returns, Birling continues giving advice, and he is passionately announcing his “every man for himself” worldview when the doorbell rings. It is an Inspector, who refuses a drink from Birling. Birling is surprised, as an ex-Lord Mayor and an alderman, that he has never seen the Inspector before, though he knows the Brumley police force pretty well. The Inspector explains that he is here to investigate the death of a girl who died two hours ago in the Infirmary after committing suicide by drinking disinfectant. Her name was Eva Smith, and the Inspector brings with him a photograph, which he shows to Birling—but not to anyone else. It is revealed that Eva Smith worked in Birling’s works, from which she was dismissed after being a ringleader in an unsuccessful strike to demand better pay for Birling’s workers. The Inspector outlines that “a chain of events” might be responsible for the girl’s death, and—for the rest of the play— interrogates each member of the family, asking questions about the part they played in Eva Smith’s life. We then discover that Sheila Birling encountered Eva Smith at Milwards, where Sheila jealously insisted that she was dismissed. Sheila feels tremendously guilty about her part in Eva’s death. It becomes clear that each member of the family might have part of the responsibility. Eva Smith then, we discover, changed her name to Daisy Renton—and it is by this name that she encountered Gerald Croft, with whom she had a protracted love affair. Sheila is not as upset as one might expect; indeed, she seems to have already guessed why Gerald was absent from their relationship last summer. He put her up in a cottage he was looking after, made love to her, and gave her gifts of money, but after a while, he ended the relationship. Gerald asks the Inspector, whose control over proceedings is now clear, to leave—and Sheila gives him back his engagement ring. The Inspector next interrogates Mrs. Birling, who remains icily resistant to accepting any responsibility. Eva Smith came to her, pregnant, to ask for help from a charity committee of which Mrs. Birling was chairperson. Mrs. Birling used her influence to have the committee refuse to help the girl. Mrs. Birling resists the Inspector’s questioning, eventually forcefully telling him that the father of the child is the one with whom the true responsibility rests. It transpires, to Mrs. Birling’s horror, that Eric was, in fact, the father of the child, and she has just unwittingly damned her own son. Once Eric returns, the Inspector interrogates him about his relationship with Eva Smith. After meeting her in a bar when he was drunk (he has a drinking problem), he forced his way into her rooms, then later returned and continued their sexual relationship. He also gave her money that he had stolen from his father’s works, but after a while, Eva broke off the relationship, telling Eric that he did not love her. The Inspector makes a final speech, telling the Birlings, “We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.” He exits. After his exit, the Birlings initially fight among themselves. Sheila finally suggests that the Inspector might not have been a real police inspector. Gerald returns, having found out as much from talking to a policeman on the corner of the street. The Birlings begin to suspect that they have been hoaxed. Significantly, Eric and Sheila, unlike their parents and Gerald, still see themselves as responsible. “He was our police inspector all right,” Eric and Sheila conclude, whether or not he had the state’s authority or was even real. Realizing that they could each have been shown a different photograph, and after calling the Chief Constable to confirm their suspicions, Mr. and Mrs. Birling and Gerald conclude that they have been hoaxed, and they are incredibly relieved. Gerald suggests that there were probably several different girls in each of their stories. They call the Infirmary and learn delightedly that no girl has died that night—the Infirmary has seen no suicide for months. Everyone, it seems, is off the hook, even if each of their actions was immoral and irresponsible. Only Sheila and Eric fail to agree with that sentiment and recognize the overall theme of responsibility. As Birling mocks his children’s feelings of moral guilt, the phone rings. He answers it and is shocked, revealing the play’s final twist: “That was the police. A girl has just died— on her way to the Infirmary—after swallowing some disinfectant. And a police inspector is on his way here—to ask some—questions—” 'An Inspector Calls' was written in 1945 but set in 1912. The Birling family are an upper class family. The play opens with the Birling's celebrating the engagement of their daughter, Sheila, to Gerald Croft. The pink lighting suggests a sense of perfection. When the women leave the table, Mr Arthur Birling advises his son, Eric, and Gerald to look after themselves and their family, forgetting the wider community. At this point, the family are interrupted by the doorbell. Enter Inspector Goole- sounds like 'ghoul'. Goole explains he is there to investigate a young girl's suicide, Eva Smith. Mr. Birling admits he sacked Eva from his factory when she played a vital role in a strike, demanding higher wages. He does not accept any responsibilty for her suicide. Inspector Goole then moves onto Sheila Birling. Eva had found a job at Milward's fashion shop. When Sheila was shopping one day she felt that Eva was laughing at her and , in a jealous outburst, forced the manager t fire Eva. Sheila feels hugely responsible for the suicide. Goole then explains that Eva changed her name to Daisy Renton. Mrs Birling tries to get the Inspector to leave but he refuses. Eric Birling is gradually becoming more intoxicated. We then discover that Gerald had met Daisy at the Palace Bar, rescuing her from a rough- handed fellow drinker. When he discovered she was penniless, Gerald arranged for her to stay in a friend's empty apartment. After a couple of months, he ends the affair, giving her some money to go on her way. Sheila is glad her fiance is honest about the affair. Gerald leaves to go for a walk. Goole then moves onto Mrs. Birling. He shows her the photo of Daisy and she admits that Daisy/Eva did approach her charity for help as she was pregnat and alone but Mrs. Birling turned her away as Eva called herself 'Birling'. Mrs. Birling told the girl to get the father to support her but Eva/Daisy would not ask as she believed the father was giving her stolen money. Mrs B shows no remorse. Sheila realises her brother, Eric is the father. Much to his parents' disgust, Eric admits that he also met Eva in the Palace Bar. He took her back to her lodgings and, after he almost became violent, Eva slept with him. She would not marry him as she knew he did not love her. Eric began to steal money from his father's office to support her. The Birling's are outraged. The younger generation of the Birlings are riddled with guilt for their involvement. As the Inspectorleaves he makes a powerful speech about looking after one another, a sense of community responsibility. Gerald returns, announbcing that he believes Inspector Goole to be a conman. They call the police station and their suspicions are confirmed. They also call the infirmary and discover there has not been a suicide for months. Mr and Mrs Birling are delighted. Sheila and Eric maintain that they are all still guilty of their crimes. The phone rings- Mr Birling is told that a police inspector is on his way to discuss the suicide of a girl Argumento "Ha llegado un inspector" es una obra de suspense dividida en 3 actos. Comienza con una cena en la casa de la familia Birling. Se está celebrando el compromiso entre Sheila, la hija de la Sr y Sra Birling, y Gerald Croft. Sorpresivamente aparece el Inspector Goole. Empieza diciendo que una joven se ha suicidado con un desinfectante. Con el transcurrir de la obra, se descubre que todos los inegrantes de la familia (inclusive el novio) tuvieron alguna relación con esa chica que iba cambiando el nombre. Fue empleado del Sr.Birling y fue echada, Sheila la hizo echar por tonterías, Gerald tuvo una relación como amante, la Sra.Birling no la quizo ayudar cuando fue a pedir ayuda a un hogar de mujeres (lugar donde ayudaba la Sra.Birling) y el hijo que esperaba la joven era del Eric,hijo de la familia. Se va el inspector y se dan cuenta que no existe ningún Inspector Goole y que ninguna joven murió en la enfermería. Pero cuando parecía que todo era una broma o el hombre era un loco, suena el telefono y, cuando atiende el Sr.Birling y le comunican que murió una joven por haber tomado desinfectante y que un inspector de policía irá a su casa para interrogarlos. Historia de Eva Smith Era una mujer que trabajaba en la empresa de Arthur Birling. Un día hubo una huelga porque querían aumentar el sueldo y ella era la cabecilla de la huelga. Por eso Arthur la despidió. Los dos meses siguientes vivió en la miseria. Su suerte cambió cuando consiguió trabajo en Millward. Un día por un berrinche de Sheila Birling fue despedida nuevamente. Cambió su nombre por el de Daisy Renton. Con este nombre la conoció Gerald que le hizo pasar el mejor momento de su vida. Este le dio una casa. Pero como era novio con Sheila la abandonó posteriormente. Eva o Daisy no le armó berrinche alguno ya que estaba muy agradecida con él. Pero volvió a la miseria y tuvo que trabajar como prostituta. Allí la conoció Eric, del que quedó embarazada. Al ver como ella vivía en mal estado, él le prestó dinero y ella no sabia que lo había robado de la empresa de Arthur. Cuando se enteró le dejó diciéndole que no quería su dinero. Lo peor que le pasó es que cuando fue a pedir socorro a Sybil a la Sociedad de Beneficencia de Brumley ésta se la negó diciéndole que el padre del niño se hiciera cargo de ella. Esto hizo que se desesperara y se suicidara con un desinfectante.
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