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An Inspector Calls

J. B. Priestley


Key Facts

Key Facts

full title ·  An Inspector Calls

author ·  J. B. Priestley

type ·  of work Play

genre  · Realism

language ·  Written in English; first performed in Russian translation

time and place written ·  England, 1945-6

date of first publication ·  1946

publisher ·  N/A (first performed in USSR)

tone  · Social critique; solemn; fatalist; anti-hypocritical (critical of middle-class hypocrisies)

tense ·  Present

setting (time) ·  1912

setting (place) ·  Burmley, Northern England

protagonist  · There is no single protagonist, although Sheila is the play’s emotional center

major conflict ·  Eva Smith/Daisy Renton’s death implicates the entire Birling family, who sort out their culpability in her downfall.

rising action ·  The Inspector arrives, asking questions about a girl’s suicide.

climax ·  Eric is revealed to be the father of Eva’s unborn child.

falling action ·  Gerald tells the family that, perhaps, the Inspector has “hoaxed” them to prove a point about social systems.

themes  ·  Guilt, suicide, learning/forgetting, and “inspection”

motifs ·  Calls, drunkenness, rudeness/impertinence

symbols ·  The engagement ring, disinfectant, the bar

foreshadowing ·  Sheila wonders why Gerald was so busy the previous spring and summer, and it is because he was having an affair. Eric’s drinking increases over the course of the play and is brought up early on. The Inspector hints at global catastrophe, or world war, that might follow whole countries’ selfish behaviors.

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Incorrect Questions

by MrRetno, May 25, 2017

Question 20: Arthur calls the Hospital, but receives a call from the police.
Question 25: Guilt is most definitely a theme in the play; business loans are not.


7 out of 11 people found this helpful

essay help

by LeonMcMillen, July 31, 2017

I had to take this research class in senior year and I’m going to be honest with you, senioritis hit me hard. I could not bring myself to write the term paper for that class so I ordered it online from this website called

. The research paper turned out very well (it was supposed to be long and complicated) and the teacher was really impressed with it. I got an A and everyone was happy.


by qwerty1234lol, October 27, 2017

you missed out Sybil birling even though she is an important character
here is some stuff

Mrs Birling is being very arrogant, it is clear that she thinks that she is right "Secondly, I blame the young man" shows that she also has a very ignorant point of view. She brings class into her argument, suggesting that because 'he didn’t belong to her class' then 'that's all the more reason why he shouldn't escape'. Here she suggests that just because the boy might be from a higher class than the pregnant Eva Smith, then the pregnancy... Read more


32 out of 35 people found this helpful

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