An Inspector Calls

‘An Inspector Calls’ discussion points

Three ways to use these discussion points:

  • Discuss the following statements. Your aim is to establish your argument in relation to each discussion point and use analysis of the text to support your interpretation.
  • Create flash cards for each statement. Put the discussion point on one side and your ideas and key quotations on the other – then test yourself or a friend.
  • You could also use these statements as practice essay questions. Just ask yourself: how far do you agree that…


  1. Mrs Birling and Sheila aren’t actually that different in some ways.
  1. Sheila is the most significant character in ‘An Inspector Calls’
  1. Conflict between the generations is a crucial element in Priestley’s message in ‘An Inspector Calls’
  1. Priestley presents family relationships as closed and insincere in ‘An Inspector Calls’
  1. The play takes place in one evening, in one room only. This limits the meanings conveyed.
  1. Mrs Birling is utterly dislikeable.
  1. Priestley presents Eric in such a way that it is clear he wishes the audience to sympathise with him.
  1. Gerald is insignificant and pointless.
  1. Inspector Goole is the personification of Priestley’s message.
  1. The ambiguity surrounding Inspector Goole is crucial to the wider meanings of the play.
  1. The inspector in ‘An Inspector Calls’ is not what he seems: he is not looking for evidence because he already knows the facts.
  1. Priestley’s message is chiefly one of change.
  1. The beginning and ending of the play work together to convey Priestley’s message.
  1. Eva Smith’s absence from the stage supports the development of themes in ‘An Inspector Calls’
  1. Class and attitudes to class are important to the development of plot in ‘An Inspector Calls’
  1. It is the middle classes who Priestley is most critical of in ‘An Inspector Calls’
  1. Priestley’s optimism for the future is tangible.
  1. Priestley’s references to time and uses of time in ‘An Inspector Calls’ are significant.
  1. Characterisation, structure and dramatic devices all serve to make ‘An Inspector Calls’ a play of mystery and suspense.
  1. ‘An Inspector Calls’ could be considered a satire.
  1. Entrances and exits are a key source of tension in ‘An Inspector Calls’
  1. Responsibility is the most important theme in ‘An Inspector Calls’
  1. The setting of the play reinforces all of Priestley’s most important messages in the play.
  1. Birling is the most persuasive device in the play.
  1. Eva Smith is the most persuasive device in the play.