Arthur Birling is introduced as a “fairly prosperous” manufacturer and a family man with a wife and two children, Sheila and Eric. He is large-bodied and middle aged, with easy manners and provincial speech… read analysis of Arthur Birling
Mrs. Birling is described as being “cold” and Mr. Birling’s “social superior.” Throughout the questioning process, she resists the Inspector’s inquiries and reminds him, to Sheila’s frustration, of the Birlings’ high social status… read analysis of Mrs. Birling
The daughter of Mr. Birling and Mrs. Birling, Sheila is a young woman in her early twenties who is generally excited about life and is engaged to Gerald Croft. She is most upset… read analysis of Sheila
Gerald is engaged to Sheila. During the inspection, Gerald admits to having had an affair with the girl in question—at the time, Daisy Renton—which prompts Sheila to return his engagement ring. Gerald comes… read analysis of Gerald Croft
Eric is the son of the family. He disapproves of his father’s decision to deny Eva Smith’s request for higher wages, and becomes drunk and upset throughout the course of the evening, which prompts… read analysis of Eric
Goole is allegedly a police officer who has come to investigate the potential involvement of the Birlings in the recent suicide of a girl by the name of Eva Smith. Throughout the play, he… read analysis of Inspector Goole
Eva Smith is an employee at Birling’s factory who leads a group of workers in a strike for higher wages. When their request is denied, she is forced to leave the factory. The Inspector alleges… read analysis of Eva Smith
Daisy Renton is the girl that Gerald Croft has an affair with and sets up in his friend’s empty set of rooms.
Sir George Croft
Sir George Croft is Gerald’s father, and the owner of Crofts Limited, a larger competitor with Birling’s business though older and more successful.
A friend of Mr. Birling’s, who leads the police department. Birling seems to believe that his friendship with the Chief Inspector protects him from any damage regarding the Inspector's revelations about Eva Smith.
An alderman whom the Birling parents deem respectable, before Sheila and Gerald inform them that he has a reputation as a womanizer. Gerald claims that he initially went over to Daisy Renton in order to save her from Meggarty’s harassment.
The Birling family's maid, who cleans, pours drinks, and announces guests, but otherwise has little role in the play.