Learning Intentions – Act Two Plot / Key incidents Characterisation – Sybil Birling / Sheila Birling / Eric Birling / Gerald Croft / Eva Smith (Daisy Renton) / Inspector Goole Dramatic Techniques : Tension Themes : Social Class / Social Responsibility
Plot / Key Incidents Gerald confesses that he had an affair with Eva / Daisy. Daisy / Eva fell in love with Gerald, but he ended the affair. Sybil reveals that she refused to let her charity help Eva / Daisy who was poor and pregnant. Sybil blames the father of Eva / Daisy’s child for her death. Sheila guesses that Eric was the father. Act ends with a cliffhanger. Audience is left wondering whether or not he is the father of Eva / Daisy’s child.
She is prejudiced, ‘ A girl of that sort’. She can’t believe that a working-class person would refuse stolen money, ‘ It sounded ridiculous to me’. She is head of a charity organisation, but is far from charitable. She uses her influence to convince the other charity members not to help Eva / Daisy because she is annoyed about her using the Birling name.
Characterisation: Sybil Birling She is self-centred – 1. She hasn’t noticed Eric’s drinking problem – ‘ It isn’t true’. 2. She isn’t worried that Gerald lost interest in Sheila last summer. 3. She won’t accept responsibility for Eva / Daisy’s suicide and claims she was in the right, ‘ I accept no blame’.
Characterisation: Sybil Birling She takes no responsibility for Eva / Daisy’s death and tries to blame the father. She doesn’t realise that it is a trap and that she is asking for her own son to be punished, ‘ He ought to be dealt with very severely’.
She is strong-minded and returns the engagement ring to Gerald when she finds out about the affair. She is wise enough to suspect that Eric is the father of Eva / Daisy’s child, (with sudden alarm) ‘Mother – stop-stop!’ She has morals and tells Gerald she respects him for being honest. She thinks her mother’s treatment of Eva / Daisy was ‘ cruel and vile ’
Characterisation: Sheila Birling In Act Two, she has become more grown up and responsible. She wants to know the truth and asks Gerald almost as many questions as the Inspector does. She is strong and argues with her parents. When she’s giving the ring back to Gerald she tells her father, ‘ Don’t interfere ’. She realises that she has changed. She breaks off the engagement because they ‘ aren’t the same people any more’
He is revealed to be a heavy drinker, ‘Some men drink far too much…and Eric’s one of them’. At the end, Eric walks in looking ( extremely pale and distressed). It is as if he realises that everyone knows that he is guilty.
Inspector Goole feels Gerald is a hypocrite when he tries to protect Sheila by getting her to leave the room. He thinks Sheila should be ‘ protected ’ because she is a young woman, but Eva / Daisy needed to be protected from him. He used her and then got rid of her. He confesses to the affair, but isn’t ashamed of his behaviour, “ it wasn’t disgusting’. For Gerald the relationship was a fling, but it was the happiest time in Eva / Daisy’s life, ‘ She told me she’d been happier than she’d ever been before’.
Characterisation: Gerald Croft He is a liar, ‘ I wasn’t telling you a complete lie’. He doesn’t feel sorry for his actions and he shows that young people can be just as self-centred as the older generation.
Characterisation: Eva Smith Gerald rescued her from being a prostitute, but he left when it suited him. She is portrayed as having been a decent person. She refused help from Eric because : 1.He drank too much and was ‘silly and wild’. 2.The money he gave her was stolen. 3.He didn’t love her. 4.She didn’t want to get the father into any more trouble.
The Inspector is blunt and forceful towards Gerald, ‘ And you think young women ought to be protected against unpleasant and disturbing things…we know one woman who wasn’t’. He is unwilling to accept the lies of the family. When Sybil refuses to admit that there was a charity meeting he says, ‘ You know very well there was’.
Characterisation: Inspector Goole He is harshest with Sybil because she resists the truth the most: ‘ She came to you for help at a time when no woman could have needed it more’ ‘ She needed not only money, but advice, sympathy, friendliness ’ – by listing, he emphasises that Sybil denied all of these things to Eva / Daisy.
Characterisation: Inspector Goole ‘ You must have known what she was feeling. And you slammed the door in her face’. The metaphor suggests the cruel treatment of Eva / Daisy by Sybil.
Dramatic Techniques - Tension Act One ends with the Inspector asking, ‘ Well ?’, Act Two opens in the same way. The audience will wonder about the answer to this question during the break, which adds to the suspense. At the beginning of the Act the audience expects to hear Gerald confess, but the focus shifts to Sheila and Sybil. This builds tension because the audience are left in suspense. The Act ends on a cliffhanger – is Eric the father of Eva / Daisy’s child?
Theme: Social Class The upper class in the play don’t feel responsible for the working class. Sybil Birling doesn’t care. Mrs Birling is involved in a charity, but it seems she is only doing it for the social status. Eva / Daisy is presented as more honourable than the middle / upper classes. This would have surprised some of Priestley’s audience.
Theme: Social Responsibility Sybil believes she has no responsibility to the working class. Her prejudice is so deep, it can’t be changed.
Success Criteria Plot / Key incidents Characterisation – Sybil Birling / / Sheila Birling / Eric Birling / Gerald Croft / Eva Smith (Daisy Renton) / Inspector Goole Dramatic Techniques : Tension Themes : Social Class / Social Responsibility