The inspector interrogates each family member differently to ascertain his information; this shows that he has good interpersonal skills to persuade the Birling family to reveal what they know to the audience. For example, he uses a considerably more respectful tone with Mr Birling, frequently adding, ‘Sir’ at the end of the sentences directed at him: ‘Thank you sir’ And ‘Yes sir’ This could be to lure him into to a false sense of security, so he will inevitably be caught off guard at some point. This method is effective because Mr. Birling is generally arrogant and demands a respectful approach. When the inspector questions Sheila, his tone changes substantially. Additionally, do his methods of interrogation; he tells her of the desperate situation.
‘…No work, no money coming in, and living in lodgings, with no relatives to help her, few friends, lonely, half starved, she was feeling desperate’ He does this to make Sheila empathise emotionally with Eva. He then tells her how Eva is taken on at Millwards, ‘She was taken on in a shop-a good shop too-Milwards’ Now that Sheila has emotionally empathised with Eva and her situation, she will inevitably, apprehend some sort of impassioned parallelism to it, this meaning, in the event of hearing a positive twist to Eva’s tale, it is feasible that Sheila will indeed undergo an emotional alteration to a positive state of mind, which, evidently, takes place.
‘Yes, she was lucky to get taken on at Milwards’ -She declares. Now the inspector can take full advantage of this mood transition, by revealing that she was responsible for Eva’s firing from Milwards. As the dark and emotionally reinforced realisation sweeps over Sheila, she becomes upset, and, as a result, easy to extract information from. This indicates that the inspector’s role, when he interrogates Sheila, is to use her own emotions against her, so that she has no choice but to reveal the entire sequence of events, leading to Eva’s eventual firing.
Shelia’s attitude toward the whole situation reveals that in the middle class the younger generation are more impressionable and open-minded in cases where, the general ideals of middle class society are tested. The inspector uses Mrs. Birling to reveal the information about Eva’s plea to her organisation. After this he sets up a well-placed trap that Mrs. Birling unwitting and unavoidably falls into, he asks her who was to blame for Eva’s suicide: ‘Who is to blame then?’ At first she replies: ‘First, the girl herself’ Then she goes on to say: ‘Secondly I blame to young man’.
When the inspector hears this, he quickly delves deeper into this comment by following it up with a further question enquiring into this ‘boy’ and whether it would be acceptable for him to steal this money: ‘And if her story was true- that he was stealing money’ Every time the inspector does this, he is, in essence, digging the pit fall deeper and deeper for Mrs. Birling, as she herself unknowingly passes negative judgement on her own son to the point of declaring that he should: ‘Confess in public his responsibility’.
When the inspector uses this method he provides a link to the audience and the events in the play. This is because the viewers are already aware of Eric’s involvement with Eva, and so too is the Inspector, but, without a doubt, Mrs. Birling is totally unaware of this fact. This means that the audience can relate their knowledge of Eric to that of the inspectors, and in doing so, a tenuous bond between the two is created; which may increase the emotional and moral effectiveness of the inspector’s final speech.
Mrs. Birling’s reaction to Eva’s dire case may suggest that society at that time was, (although willing to start organisations for help) unwilling to assist people who they didn’t take to their liking, which renders the whole organisation a mere front that boasts facilitation for people who genuinely need it, but when it comes down to it, they are, indeed, quite self-important (to the extent that they had no time for the lower classes) and pathetic, which generally means society was selectively helpful and ignorantly self-obsessed.