Act 1

A Festival

The story begins with a dinner between two families, the Birlings and the Crofts. They are enjoying the festivities as Sheila Birling is about to marry Gerald Croft.

Sheila’s father Arthur and Brother Eric are excited to see the Crofts, a renowned family, becoming part of their own. Gerald and Sheila seem to be in love and both families are happy to get them married.

Over dinner, Sheila asks Gerald about his busy schedule in the summer which he sweeps aside as work-related.  Sheila leaves the room and Gerald is left with Arthur who wants to disclose some good news to Gerald. 

Social Status

Arthur tells him about his impending Knighthood. This cheers Gerald whose family was not entirely happy about the social status and lack of fame of the Birlings. They are joined by Eric and they continue to chat about the family business.

Arthur advises both of them to focus on capitalist interest and give not much heed to labour laws or socialist developments around Britain and the World.

An Inspector Appears

Suddenly, Sheila reenters the room and informs Arthur about an inspector who wants to meet him. Inspector enters the room and Arthur offers him a drink.

He declines and comes straight to the matter at hand. He informs Arthur about his former employee named Eva Smith who had committed suicide.

Arthur is surprised and Eric is appalled. Arthur describes his association with Eva which ended on bitter terms as he fired her after she protested against his company. She was the main instigator and therefore Arthur punished her severely.

Further Revelations

Then the inspector questions Sheila who refuses to recognize Eva’s name. The inspector then shows her Eva’s photograph and Sheila acknowledges that she got her fired at a clothing store after she mocked her appearance.

However, she used ‘Daisy’ as her name in place of Eva. Hearing Daisy’s name, Gerald gets perturbed. He confesses to Sheila that he had an affair with a woman named Daisy that summer but asks her to keep it to herself.