The play takes place in the spring evening in 1912 in the northern part of the Midlands in the house of Burlingame. The narrow family circle celebrates the engagement of Sheila, a daughter of Arthur Burling, a wealthy industrialist, with Gerald Croft, a son of another wealthy industrialist. Everybody is in high spirits. When Sheila and her mother go into another room to talk about clothes, Arthur gives a useful tips Gerald and Eric. He believes that a person should only deal with their personal affairs, care for themselves and their loved ones, and not think about other people. His speech is interrupted by the doorbell. Police Inspector Goole came.
At first Arthur does not see importance in this visit and thinks that it is related to his work in court. But the inspector said that a young woman two died in the city hospital hours ago: she drank a large amount of a concentrated disinfectant solution and burned herself inside. The inspector says that it was a suicide, and that in connection with this incident he had to ask a few questions. Arthur can’t understand how this story may relate to him personally. The inspector explained that the girl, Eva Smith, worked once at Burling’s factory. Arthur confirmed that and said that he fired her, because she was initiating a strike. The inspector says that Eva Smith after being fired was unemployed for two months and nearly died of starvation. But then she got a place in couture, where Sheila often went with her mother. However, after working there for two months Eva was fired due to the fact that one customer complained. As it turned out, that was Sheila.
Then it turned out that Eva was a lover of Gerald Croft, with whom they were dating for several months. After knowing this, Sheila gives her ring back to Gerald. Then it turned out that Eva Smith appealed to the Women’s Charity Society, a member of which was Mrs. Burling. Eva was denied aid because Mrs. Burling insisted on it.
Eric enters the room and understands that it is now his turn. Eric met Eva several months ago and got her pregnant. She didn’t want to marry, so he was giving her money. The Inspector said that all of the family members are to blame for the suicide of Eva. The family starts to doubt that it was a real Inspector. They call the police and then the hospital where nobody knows about such an inspector and the girl killing herself. The family relaxes and suddenly gets a call from police saying that the girls somewhere just died and Inspector is on his way to ask them some questions.
The play takes place in the spring evening in 1912 in the northern part of the Midlands in the house of Burlingame. The narrow family circle celebrates the engagement of Sheila, a daughter of Arthur Burling, a wealthy industrialist, with Gerald Croft, a son of another wealthy industrialist. Everybody is in high spirits.