The Inspector: Profile, Key Quotes & Worksheet

The Inspector

I have produced this page to help students revise for exam questions on the inspector himself.  If you learn key quotes on each of the characters, you should be able to deal with all the character questions including the dramatic presentation part.  Look up each quote below so that you can explore the significance of its appearance in the text.

Unfortunately, you will not be able to see the row divisions very clearly but I have grouped some quotes together because they have a bearing on each other.  Complete the second and third columns.

Whilst the page numbers are unlikely to be the same in your copy of the play, they do give you an idea where to find the lines.

  • Act 1: 161 – 182;
  • Act 2: 183 – 201
  • Act 3: 202 onwards 

The profile is to be found at the bottom of the page.



181 then I said to myself: ‘Well, we’ll try to understand why it had to happen.’

178 a nice little promising life there, I thought, and a nasty mess somebody’s made of it.

174 I don’t play golf

211 Probably a Socialist or some sort of crank

215 Well, he inspected us all right.

209 He was our police inspector all right.


168 sharp ring of a front doorbell

220 The telephone rings sharply … A police inspector is on his way here.

184 [massively]

170 the inspector interposes himself

175 He looks at Gerald then at Eric then at Sheila


173 it’s better to ask for the earth than to take it

176 for wanting twenty-five shillings a week instead of twenty-two and six

181 It’s too late.  She’s dead.

191 It was you who turned the girl out in the first place

208 You’re offering the money at the wrong time.

185 We often do on the young ones.  They’re more impressionable.

199 Don’t stammer and yammer again at me, man.

198 I think you did something terribly wrong.

198 you slammed the door in her face.

181 So you used the power you had.


184 If she leaves us now … she’ll be alone with her responsibility, the rest of tonight, all tomorrow, all the next night –

206 But each of you helped to kill her.  Remember that.

177 There are a lot of young women living that sort of existence in every city and big town in this country.

207 There are millions and millions of Eva Smith’s and John Smiths

207 We are members of one body

172 if we were all responsible for everything that happened to everybody we’d had anything to do with, it would be very awkward, wouldn’t it?

207 if men have not learnt that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.


171 One person and one line of inquiry at a time.181 You might be said to have been jealous of her.

192 When did the affair end? …  How did she take it? … She had to move out of those rooms? … Did she tell you what she proposed to do after you left her?

195 You’re not telling the truth



The dramatic importance of the inspector:

He reveals the nature of each character.
  • He exposes such feelings as guilt pride jealousy.
  • He brings  such sins as pride wrath, envy, and lust into the light of day.
  • His own nature is also revealed through his interatcion with the other characters e.g. ‘massively’
  • Sheila and Eric change and are encouraged to grow up.
  • Gerald, Mr and Mrs Birling change but not permanently.
He is a seer
  • He brings the christian message, in the language of Revelations.
  • He brings the socialist message
  • He exposes what is wrong in society and is backed up by what happens in history.
His presence creates dramatic impact:
  • He is a contrasting figure to the other characters
  • He puts characters off guard – they confess – are left to flounder.
  • He knows everything
  • Who is he? He is certainly mysterious (lights change on his arrival).  Is he returning or is it now down to more human colleagues?
  • He repeats the nature of Eva’s death and the crimes committed against her.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s