Act 2 begins like Act 1 ended with the Inspector saying, “well? ” to Gerald which is repetition which makes Gerald feel ganged up on and cornered as both Sheila and the Inspector use the say word to ask him a question to get Gerald to come out with his information and then Gerald requests Sheila leaves the room to which she says no.
Sheila then goes on to say she wants to hear everyone else connections with the girl. After some discussion whether Sheila should stay or not and why Mrs. Birling then enters the room. As soon as she does she says she will be cooperative and welcomes the inspector into her home, but Sheila then tells her mother she shouldn’t do that.
Sheila is aware more than the others what the inspector is doing and what is occurring and she says that they, “shouldn’t build up a wall between them and the Inspector”, or say to much because the inspector will knock the wall down and they will regret everything later which means that the Inspector knows that you are lying and if you try to build up your confidence that you did nothing wrong and you shouldn’t be ashamed he will just beak your confidence and say you should be ashamed easily as he knows everything that occurred.
Mrs. Birling after hearing this then again says about her husband Arthur being lord mayor a few years ago again showing their power and hiding behind their status for protection for herself. Sheila then reveals Eric’s drinking problems to Mrs. Birling that she is totally unaware about showing the secrets and lies in the family. This also implies how the rich upper class believe that there is never any problems with there family so Mrs. Birling refuses to believe that her son could be a drunk..
The inspector then questions Gerald about his connections with the girl and as he does Sheila repeats his questions and follows up his questions, backing him up all the way through. This makes Sheila a sort of advocate of the inspector showing his power to turn the family against each other which sows how the different generations have different views as the younger ones are on the Inspectors ‘side’ and not on the older generation their parents side.
The inspector did not show a photo to Gerald this time so this makes the audience again wonder who this girl is if it is the same girl so the inspector is using the photos to create dramatic impact. The inspector has created a situation where Gerald ha admitted to an affair but it may have nothing to do with the girl and we never know because he didn’t show a photo to Gerald. Not needing to show a photo to Gerald shows his innocence and honesty at the moment, as he wants it in the open because someone like Mr. Birling would want hard evidence before he admits to anything.
When the inspector has finished asking Gerald questions and he has told everybody his connections with the girl Sheila tells him the engagement is temporarily off showing how the inspector has divided and split up the family by revealing their secrets. Which is a dramatic effect of the inspector that he does well, which is Priestleys purpose as he attempts to use the Inspector to get his views across and half of the family have realised that what the Inspector is saying which is highlighted in his final speech at the end is correct and Mr.Birlings speech at the start is wrong.
The inspector has managed to get them to reveal themselves to each other making them vulnerable. Gerald after a brief discussion with Sheila leaves the house to think. Sheila then asks why he didn’t show Gerald the photo and the inspector says it wasn’t necessary. After Gerald it is Mrs. Birling ‘turn’ for questioning. The inspector starts of by showing Mrs. Birling a photo but he doesn’t show the others again creating a dramatic impact.
Mrs. Birling from the beginning says she does not recognise the photo and the Inspector has a little moan and a dig at Mrs. Birling to which she asks for an apology. The inspector says apologise for what doing my duty, which annoys Mrs. Birling. The inspector asks Mrs. Birling what her charity does and Mrs. Birling replies saying it helps deserving cases. The inspector then asks if it is there to help desperate, young women in need, to which Mrs. Birling replies yes.
She then goes on to say they only help people you she feels deserves help and when the inspector asks what she thought about Eva Smith Mrs. Birling admits being prejudiced against her from the start. The inspector then puts Mrs. Birling in a corner saying that she is there to help young women in need and that she deliberately didn’t help one person just because she used her name.
Mrs. Birling says that she doesn’t want to discuss what the girl asked for and the inspector says she has no hope of not discussing it. Mrs.Birling then says she can’t be pressured but without realising she goes on to discuss it showing the influence of the inspector. When Mrs. Birling had said why she then tries to shift the blame saying she shouldn’t have to help the girl it is someone else responsibility. The reason the girl asked for help as because she was having a baby and without realising whom the father was she goes on to say that the father is to blame, he should pay for his actions and be punished. The inspector then just sits back and lets all the emotion come out and lets her continue to dig her own hole.
Sheila who catches on quicker than the rest who the father is realises it is Eric and tries to stop her mum from putting so much blame on the father but it is too late as Mrs. Birling has said too much about the father. She goes on to say the inspector should do his duty and get this father instead of ruining their family celebration with pointless questions digging her grave deeper. Mrs. Birling then tells the inspector he can leave but he says he is waiting to do his duty, just like Mrs.Birling said and that is when the rest of the family realise who is still to come, Eric, and they realise that he is the father which the audience would have realised by now.
Act 3 begins with Eric standing in the doorway, the rest of the family staring at him in disbelief. This shows the power the inspector has to divide the family and bring out each other’s secrets to expose he truth. Mrs. Birling then realises the consequences of her actions and tries to say it is a load of rubbish because Eric is not like that but it is too late which Sheila again realises quicker than the others.
After a minor argument between the family the Inspector coolly takes charge of the situation saying, “there will be plenty of time, when I’m gone, for you all to adjust your family relationships”, which shows how he has totally split up, divided and revealed all the secrets of the family and he is saying that his message is more important than the families squabbles. The inspector then gets Eric to tell his story but before Eric does he wants a drink and Mr. Birling says no but the Inspector says yes showing he has power of the family in allowing Eric to have a drink over ruling Mr.Birling.
The inspector then questions Eric and he manages to get Eric to reveal he stole from his fathers factory after which reveals more lies and secrets in the family. When Mr. And Mrs. Birling hears Eric has stolen money they are more concerned about this than what he did to the girl showing the only care about them. Then when Eric hears that the girl asked his mother for help he is outraged and blames his mother for her death, splitting the family again. The family start arguing but again the inspector takes control of the situation making them all stop and stare.
He then goes onto say to each one why they helped kill her and says they will never forget it. The inspector then says his final speech, “But just remember this. One Eva Smith has gone – but there are millions and millions and millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives, and what we think and say and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.
And I tell you that the times will soon come when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish. Good night” which as you see is the opposite of Mr. Birlings speech. Its teaches the family the lesson that in the future they should think about their actions more carefully and not always put themselves first. This final speech helped me decide that I think that the dramatic function of the Inspector is the show Priestleys views about the world and his play is saying this.
The family is the world they are in and what is going on with the different classes. The final speech of Goole highlights Priestleys views and says how the world should be. The inspector then turns round and walks straight out making them think about their actions and in a matter of seconds is gone. The family the start blaming each other, and you the realise that only Eric and Sheila have learnt anything about themselves tonight as Mr. And Mrs. Birling are only interested in Eric paying back the money. After a while they hear a knock at the door and in comes Gerald.
Gerald then goes on to say and prove hat there is no inspector Goole making the audience and family wonder who both the inspector and girl were if it was the same girl. Here we see who has learnt anything from the evening because the parents laugh it of and are glad that they got away with helping the kill Eva Smith and want to forget it whereas Sheila and Eric said it doesn’t matter if he was a real inspector or not they still did all those things showing the inspectors influence and power over the family and how he managed to divide the family up between the two ages of youth and older so effectively.
Then right at the end when the realise he was a fake they get a call from the police station saying a girl has just committed suicide and an inspector is on the way to ask some questions leaving them all dumbstruck. That is where the curtain falls leaving the audience wondering if what is happening and if they really learnt anything or not. After all of the events I would say that everyone of the family is to blame as they all helped to kill the girl.
Mr. Birling because he started of the chain of events firing her just because she wanted a rise, Sheila because she got her sacked from her last good job forcing her on the streets just because she was jealous of her, Gerald because he made her feel wanted and special before chucking her out on the streets and leaving her for Sheila making her feel useless.
Eric because he got her pregnant and didn’t look after her properly when she as pregnant and Mrs. Birling because she denied her, her last opportunity for help just because she use her name. All of this shows that everyone was partly to blame for her death as a girl of Eva status had very few options and the Birling family abused this.