Sybil Birling likes she likes to stick by the rules, concerned about manners she tells the others what to do and what not to do. She is only interested in the family reputation. She is very conservative, old- fashioned, selfish, cold hearted, snobbish and egoistic. Sheila birling – is a bit snobbish at the beginning of the play, egoistic and self -confident, but in the end she thinks more clearly, she accepts criticism, she feels sorry for what she had done. Her readiness to learn from experience is in great contrast to her parents.
Eric Birling is immature at the beginning of the story; he lives an easy-going life, and does not care much about anything. He has a drinking problem. He behaves half shy and half assertive. At the end of the story he starts to think and accepts his guilt, he decides that he might stop drinking. Gerald Croft is a good looking, rich and clever: man about town! He is engaged to Sheila and a son of an industrial. He does not change a lot during the story; he stays a capitalist (just interested about money and profit). He seems to agree completely with Mr. Birling, quite the same attitude towards life.
The Inspector enters. This is shown in the stage directions as he “creates at once an impression of massiveness, solidity and purposefulness”. The Inspector gets strait to the business he tells the family a woman has died. Firstly he starts with Arthur the inspector is trying to get him to remember the name Eva Smith he shows Arthur the postcard size photograph he soon remembers who she is and then he moves through the family questioning them one by one. The Inspector makes the whole family feel responsible because he gets each one to reveal each of the separate parts of what each of them did individually to Eva Smith. The inspector shows the photograph one at a time but for all they know the inspector could be showing them a complete different picture. They all think that they have a part to play in Eva Smiths suicide all there parts add up to collective responsibility.
At the end of act two, the inspector has compliantly destroyed the family’s reputations. Each member of the Birlings has found out something that they did not know about the other. During the play the Inspector keeps looking at his watch, he says “one Eva Smith has gone but there are millions of Eva Smiths still left with us”. He is saying that one has gone but there are still many left so we should treat each one with the equal amount of respect no matter what class. He was very effective in making the family all feel guilty by not starting anything too obviously, but by using the reactions of the family to the inspector to show how much damage we can cause to others when we are selfish and greedy.
Priestlys aim was to make the upper classes accept privilege and it also brought responsibility. He is successful by making each of the characters change their views after the inspector leaves. They relaxed when they thought that the inspector was fake they think that they are off the hook and carry on drinking but Eric is still feeling guilty about Eva Smith. Because they thought that the inspector wasn’t real they say that they thought something funny was going on and it’s “anything but a joke”. Then the police ring and say that a girl has been brought into the infirmary after drinking a bottle of disinfectant an officer will be over shortly to ask some questions.
At this point, we are left to think what the inspector really was this is what I think. Inspector Goole – Goole = Giest- spirit in death. Is not a real inspector, more something like god because he makes them all feel guilty. His manners are quite extraordinary, rude assertive. One of the main reasons to visit the Birling family is to make them realize, what responsibilities they have and their behavior has an influence on others. The moral of the play is that we are all members of one body, we are responsible for each other.