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Questions for An Inspector Calls

1. How does Priestley present the change in Sheila during the course of the play? How do you think this change reflects some of Priestleys ideas? 2. An Inspector Calls has been called a play of contrasts. Write about how Priestley presents some of the contrasts in the play. 3. What do you think Priestley is trying to tell us about responsibility in the play? You should write about: . what some of the characters say and do . the methods Priestley uses to present his ideas on responsibilit 4. How does Priestley present Gerald in An Inspector Calls? You should write about: . what Gerald says and does . how other characters respond to him . the methods Priestley uses to present Gerald 5. Write about the differences between Sheila and Sybil Birling in the play. You should write about: . what they say and do . their different attitudes . the methods Priestley uses to present Sheila and Sybil Birling 6. How does Priestley present Eric in An Inspector Calls? Write about: . what Eric says and does . how other characters respond to him . the methods Priestley uses to present Eric 7. Priestley criticizes the selfishness of people like Birlings. What methods does he use to present this selfishness? 8. How does Priestley show that tension is at the heart of the Birling family? 9. To what extent is it possible to feel sympathy for the character of Eric Birling?

10.Each member of the Birling family and Gerald is guilty of abusing their position of power. Who would you consider the most guilty of abusing his or her power, and why? 11.What do you think of Eric Birling? Think about his relationship with a. Eva Smith b. his parents c. his sister, Sheila The way he responds to Inspector Goole The way he speaks and behaves at different points in the play

12.Give advice to the actor playing Sheila on how she should present the character to an audience. 13.Show how Priestley keeps the interest of the audience throughout the play. 14.Give advice to the actor playing Sheila on how she should speak and behave at 2 or 3 different parts of the play. 15.Write about 2 parts of the play that you think would be particularly gripping for the audience. Explain why you think the parts of the play you have chosen would have this effect on an audience. 16.Imagine you are Mrs. Birling. At the end of the play you the play, you think back over the events. Write down your thoughts and feeling. You may wish to think about: Your thought and feelings before the Inspector arrives What you learned about the rest of your family and Gerald Croft Your thoughts and feelings after your interview with the inspector Your thoughts and feelings at the end of the play

Remember how Mrs. Birling would speak when you write your answer 17.Inspector Goole reveals secrets about all the characters involvements with Eva Smith. Which secret do you think an audience would find the most shocking? Write about the secret that is revealed and give reasons why you think an audience would find it the most shocking. 18.Eva Smith is responsible for her action. Discuss this statement with close reference to the text.

19.Literature helps us understand attitudes and values of society. What have you learnt about the social attitudes and values presented in the play? Support your answer with close reference to the play. 20.Create the front page story that the Brumley Gazette would publish, revealing the scandal of the Birling family. 21.Select one of the members of the Birling family. Write a character study, using the text for reference, to show how Priestly uses the character to convey his own opinions and attitudes. 22.His characters usually represent social attitudes, political stances (Nightingale). How far can the Birlings and Gerald Croft be considered to be representative of real people? 23.The Inspector is an embodiment of a collective conscience (Gareth Llyod Evans). How real is the character of the Inspector? Use references from the text to substantiate your answer. 24.Show how Priestley uses the form of the detective play in An Inspector Calls. Is he successful in so doing? 25.We dont live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other. What is Priestleys main aim in An Inspector Calls? How successfully does he achieve it? 26. An Inspector Calls is a creaky moral mystery. How far do you agree with this statement? 27.You cannot be happy when you are surrounded by people who are unhappy. (JB Priestley). How would an audience respond to An Inspector Calls in performance? 28.What function does the character of the Inspector have in An Inspector Calls, and how does Priestley present this character? 29.How does Priestly use stage directions to create an effect on the audience? 30.The difference between the Inspector and the Birlings is shown as much by how he says things as by what he says. How does Priestley use language in the play to show the differences between characters? 31.Reread the play from where the Inspector says Stop! to where he makes his final exit. Explore the ways Priestley makes this such a dramatic and powerful moment in the play.

32.How does Priestley make An Inspector Calls such a dramatic, suspenseful play? 33.How does Priestleys portrayal of Mr and Mrs Birling contribute to the message of the play? 34.The characters in An Inspector Calls rarely say quite what they mean. How does Priestley present the Birlings? Are they trustworthy in your view? 35.How does Priestleys portrayal of the Inspector make him such a powerful and moral figure? 36.Its clear from the start that everything is not right with the Birlings. How does Priestley demonstrate this in the first part of Act One, before the Inspector arrives? 37.How does Priestley present ideas about judgement in An Inspector Calls? 38."Eva Smith shows how society sees innocence as something to take advantage of. How does Priestley present the theme of innocence in the play? 39.How does Priestley show the problems caused by the class system within the play? 40.How does Priestley present the idea of conflict between the generations in An Inspector Calls? 41.Why do you think Priestley chose to set An Inspector Calls in 1912? 42.Sheilas views on social responsibility have been permanently changed. How does Priestley present the theme of social responsibility in the play? 43.How does Priestley explore the relationships between men and women in An Inspector Calls? 44.The main character in An Inspector Calls is never even on stage. Write about how Priestley presents the character of Eva Smith/Daisy Renton? 45.The Birling family are presented as a close and happy family at the beginning of the play, but are left broken by the end. How far do you agree with this assessment of the presentation of the Birling family? 46.Everythings all right now, Sheila. (Holds up the ring.) What about this ring? How does Priestley present the changing relationship between Sheila and Gerald over the course of the play?

47.The Inspectors an outsider he comes in from the outside and turns the Birling family inside out. What is the role of the Inspector in the play and how does Priestley use him to carry the plays message? 48.Sybil is perhaps the most unsympathetic character of them all. How does Priestley present the character of Sybil Birling to the audience during the play? 49.The Birling family dont seem to consider Geralds affair to be as shameful as Erics relationship with Daisy Renton. Does Priestleys portrayal of Gerald encourages the audience to feel more sympathetic towards Gerald than Eric? 50.No character in An Inspector Calls is entirely good or bad. This is what makes them so complex. How does Priestleys portrayal of the Birlings suggest that they are flawed but have potential to change? 51.Who or what is the Inspector? Do you think that Priestley wants us to know? 52.At the start of the play, Birling is in control. When and how do you think the balance of power shifts from Birling to the Inspector? 53.Do you think Sheila and Gerald should get married? Why do you think this? 54.Do you think Mrs Birling learns anything from the Inspectors visit? Use quotations from the text to back up your answer. 55.Both Eric and Gerald have relationships with Eva/Daisy. What do you feel about the way each man behaves towards her? 56.For much of the play, the younger generation (Sheila and Eric) hold different views from the older generation (Mr and Mrs Birling). Whose views does Gerald share? Find some quotations to back up your answer. 57.Explain the symbolism of Eva Smiths name and how this fits in with her role in the play. 58.Think about your first impressions of Sheila in Act One. What sort of character did you expect her to be? 59.Do you think the Inspector planned to leave Sheila and Gerald alone together at the end of Act 1? How do you think this might benefit his investigation? 60.Mrs Birling persuaded her charity to refuse to help Eva/Daisy. In your own words, explain why she might have done this. 61.The Inspector questions Mrs Birling before he questions Eric. What do you think would have happened if Eric had still been in the room when Mrs Birling was explaining her role in Eva/Daisys death?

62.Priestley puts cliffhanger at the end of each act in the play. How do these sudden endings affect the audience? 63.Why do you think Priestley adds the final twist, rather than ending the play with the discovery that there was no suicide victim? 64.Building up of tension levels following these key events in the plot: a. Inspectors arrival b. Geralds confession c. Erics return d. Inspectors speech e. Geralds theory f. The final phone call

65. Look at Act One, from where Birling says All right, Edna. Show him in here. To Erics line My God! and answer the following question. How does Priestley create a change in mood and tone in this passage? 66.From the very beginning of the play, there are already signs of what is to come. Do you the beginning of the play in this way? How does Priestley prepare the audience for the Birlings downfall? 67.What is the significance of the title An Inspector Calls? 68.The Inspectors descriptions of Eva Smiths death are unnecessarily graphic. How effective is the Inspectors language in presenting Eva Smiths life and death, and to what extent do you think his descriptions are necessary? 69.In Act Three, Eric admits his involvement in Daisy Rentons death. He says The fact remains that I did what I did. How does Priestley present Eric as a forgivable character in Act Three? 70.Discuss the way that Priestley uses entrances and exits in Act Three of An Inspector Calls. Think carefully about how certain characters affect the order of events. 71.Discuss how Priestley uses the plays structure to build tension and increase the audiences curiosity. Use evidence from the text to support your answer. 72.Look closely at Sheilas confession in Act One and the way she talks to her parents in Act Three. How does Priestley change the way Sheila is presented over the course of the play? Remember to use examples from the text to back up your answer. 73.One of the main themes of An Inspector Calls is that of lies. Show how Priestley exposes deceit, both in his character and in society as a whole. Discuss with close reference to the text.

74.Sheila represents the younger generation that Priestley hopes is still openminded enough to learn to accept responsibilities for others. Describe Sheila with close reference to the text. 75.Write about the character of Mr. Birling and his importance to the play. 76. How is the character of Gerald presented and how does he develop in the play? 77.How does the audience respond to Gerald in the play? How does Priestley make the audience respond as they do by the way he writes? 78.still I cannot accept any responsibility. Why cannot Arthur Birling accept this responsibility? 79.How does Priestley use contrast to present the characters of the Birling and the Inspector? 80.How does Priestley present contrast in the play? 81.What is the character of Inspector Goole like? 82.Do you think the Inspector likes any member of the Birling family or Gerald Croft? 83.How is Sheila bad-tempered and self-centered? 84.To what extent are the characters and social background and beliefs of importance in the play? 85.How do Gerald, Sheila and Eric show selfishness in the play? 86.How important is Mr. Birlings interaction with the Inspector in Act One? 87.How is Sheila presented and developed in the play? 88.Why is the ending important in any play? What is different in how An Inspector Calls end? 89.How does Priestley present his socialist views throughout the play? 90.With close reference to Act One, discuss the presentation of power in the play. 91.How does Priestley use the final scene to bring out the real purpose of the play? 92.How do the characters change (or do not change) during the play?

93.The play is about a family interested in nothing but appearance. Do you or do you not agree? 94. An Inspector Calls is full of mystery and suspense. Show by close reference to the text how this atmosphere is created and maintained. 95.The mood in Act I changes from relaxed to tense. Explore the ways Priestley transform the mood. 96.What is the effect of the final telephone call upon the characters in the play? How does this news make each of the character feel about their part in Eva Smiths death? 97.How does Priestley make Inspector Gooles appearance and performance dramatically effective and interesting to watch? 98.How does Mr. Birlings opinions and views change in the play? 99.The Inspector brings along a lot of disagreements between the characters through his inquiry. Write about the conflicts in the play. What is Sheilas and the rest of the characters views of life? Explain the dramatic tension in Act 2 of the play. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the wrong doings. Discuss with close reference to the text. 2. An Inspector Calls is full of lies and deceit. Write about the way Priestly exposes weakness and wickedness, not only in the characters on stage, but also in society. 3. Priestly ends each act on a note of high drama. Write about the way he builds up tension towards the end of each act. Describe how he leaves the audience with plenty to think about during the intervals and after the play has finished. 4. Sheila says to Gerald in Act Two, You and I arent the same people who sat down to dinner here. Write about the way the relationship between Gerald and Sheila develops during the play. Points to note: a. the impression Sheila makes at the beginning of the play clearly happy and excited teasing and flirtatious but with an edge; b. note her willingness to allow Gerald to dominate her in some things remember the engagement ring; c. relationship before the play begins you will need to speculate here a little but remember her suspicions about his activities during the previous year; d. show how Sheilas personal growth during the play allows her to view Gerald and her relationship with him as something that can be questioned, that it ceases to have the schoolgirl inevitability that it has at the beginning of Act One.

Does Sheila accept her responsibility and show remorse for her actions? What are her concerns? How does the power dynamic between the characters change over the course of the play? What does Mrs. Birling say about Arthur and his work? And how does Sheilas view differ? To what extent do the characters learn from their encounter with the Inspector? Which character is most affected by the events of the evening? Do the themes presented in the play have any relevance today, 100 years later? Inspector Goole merely functions as a mouthpiece for Priestleys ideas. What do you think is the inspectors function in the play and how does Priestley present him? For which character do you have most sympathy for?