• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"An Inspector Calls" By JB Priestley

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"An Inspector Calls" By JB Priestley Post 1914 Drama "Who do you think is the most to blame for the death of Eva Smith?" The play takes place in the dining room of the Birlings' house in Brumley, an industrial town in the North Midlands. It is an evening in spring, 1912. Arthur Birling, a prosperous manufacturer, is holding a family dinner party to celebrate his daughter's engagement. Into this cosy scene intrudes the harsh figure of a Police inspector investigating the suicide of a young working class woman, Eva Smith. Under the pressure of his interrogation, every member of the family turns out to have a shameful secret, which links them with her death. The Inspector is first introduced into the play under the attitude of fear and importance, as Priestley describes his presence under the clothing and looks which the Inspector prevails over his suspects. ..."dressed in a plain darkish suit of the period"... ..."Has a disconcerting habit of looking hard at the person he addresses before actually speaking"... This description of character of the Inspector would create an atmospheric, fearful impression on the audience, as the audience would see the visual impact on which the Inspector has on his line of enquiry. The point at which the Inspector entered the household of the Birlings', is a Dramatic quality within the play, as Arthur Birling was conversing the fact that Eric might have been up to something, which is why the Inspector has come to their household. This comment alarms Eric, as Eric knows that he has been in contact with Eva Smith, he starts to feel paranoid with the comment made by his Father. ...read more.

Middle

(Stage Direction-..."She looks at it closely, recognizes it with a little cry, gives a half-stifled sob"...) These statements suggest to the audience that Sheila feels responsible for the death of Eva Smith, as she caused Eva to lose a very stable job. The attitudes of upper-classed people at this time, was of power and greed for their own self-confidence, with little respect for lower classed citizens. The lower class were seen as cheap labour, at the service of more important people, which Sheila realised after her interrogation. Gerald Croft, the future son-in-law of the prosperous Mr. Birling, is the next character to reveal his revelation in the death of Eva Smith, but Gerald hides his part in the contact between himself and the young girl, denying he knew this girl, as of the case with Mr. Birling. The Inspector reveals that Eva Smith changed her name to Daisy Renton, which caused Gerald to respond with a startled manner. ..."(startled) What?"... This response creates dramatic effect within the audience, as the audience convey that Gerald may be responsible also for the death of Eva Smith, creating tension for the character's revelation. Gerald is not open to confess his ordeal with Daisy Renton, denying he had any contact with another women, but Sheila pressurised Gerald to confess due to his startled response. Sheila uses the fact that Gerald did not come into contact with her for several weeks, as he used his business as a cover to see Daisy Renton, instead of his fiancée. Gerald confesses to the other characters that he was involved with Daisy Renton, as he met her within the stalls at the Palace bar, in a situation with an unpleasant character named Joe Meggarty. ...read more.

Conclusion

(Sheila with sudden alarm)- ..."Mother-Stop-Stop!"... This statement suggests that Mrs. Birling feels strongly for the punishment of the young man, but she does not realise it is her own son who was involved, with her grandchild's life at risk. The audience convey that Mrs. Birling believes punishment is fit for the young man involved, but she would not punish her own son in this way, creating a one-sided view from Mrs. Birling. In conclusion, I believe Mrs. Birling has the majority of the responsibility for the death of Eva Smith, as she refused a charity claim, which could have prevented Eva from taking her own life, and the death of the Birling's grandchild. Mrs. Birling was the last person to come into contact with Eva Smith, which could have been the main reason for her suicide action, but all the revelations of the characters could have caused emotional pain for Eva, with the responsibility held on all five characters. The characters revelations were caused for different reasons, as the male characters used their power as influential men of society, to use greed and power as a main factor. The female characters used their status as upper-classed women, to use their power over lower-classed people, in an act of revenge and jealousy. The comfort that the audience have when leaving the theatre, is that both Sheila and Eric have learnt from the revelations which caused the death of Eva Smith, unlike Mr. Birling and Mrs. Birling, who feel that their responsibility is not to blame for the suicide of Eva. The audience take on board that the character's are all to blame for the death of Eva Smith, with their own opinion on who is most to blame for the death of this young women. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE J.B. Priestley section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE J.B. Priestley essays

  1. Compare and contrast the characters of Sheila Birling and Eva Smith in J.B. Priestley's ...

    Eva also appeared to have loved Gerald. Although both these characters have had a relationship with Gerald and both appeared to have loved him, neither one of them lasted. There were some differences between the relationships. Most probably they were both prompted by physical attraction. But, as Gerald's relationship with Eva develops it is the fact that he feels sorry for her that makes it last.

  2. An inspector calls by J.B. Priestly - Who killed Eva Smith?

    She even says that 'He ought to be dealt with very severely,' 'If the girl's death is due to anybody, then it's due to him,' and that 'He'd be entirely responsible,' before she eventually discovers that Eric was that 'drunken young idler'.

  1. How J.B. Priestley Creates Sympathy for Eva Smith in "An Inspector Calls"

    Especially in juxtaposition with the comfortable atmosphere and obvious wealth displayed earlier in the play, the Inspector's vivid description of Eva Smith's suffering captures the attention and pity of the audience. Mr. and Mrs. Birling's uncooperative responses to the Inspector's questioning increase both the audience's feelings of distaste towards the Birlings and their sympathy for Eva Smith.

  2. This essay will be exploring why and how J.B Priestley presents Arthur Birling in ...

    the 1945 audience read or watch the play, they can almost compare the old generation to the new and recognise the different attitudes. It is evident that Mr Birling is a man of money and it seems that he is only driven by money and success.

  1. Show how in "An Inspector Calls" Priestley creates dramatic tension through focus on characters, ...

    Gerald and Mr and Mrs Birling are relieved that they have worked out the Inspector is an impostor, so reducing the seriousness of their own admission of guilt. Eric and Sheila do not feel the others relief, they do not care if the Inspector was a hoax as they know that things can never return to how they were before.

  2. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley is a play about an inspector who tries ...

    This also shows how the inspector has influenced the characters (in particular Sheila Birling) to feel guilty upon their actions towards society. Stage directions are used by Priestley a lot in order to convey his message that he wants us, the audience, to realise.

  1. "You and I aren't the same people who sat down together before dinner" Sheila ...

    When the Inspector is exposed as a fake she endures the ridicule of her parents yet steadfastly clings to her beliefs. She would doubtless find the final phone call very satisfactory. In summary, during the course of the play Sheila changes from a rather naive and ignorant young lady into

  2. An Inspector calls Compare and contrast the way in which Arthur and Sheila Birling ...

    have tried to bribe the Inspector; "perhaps you and I had better go and talk this over quietly in a corner". This undoubtedly highlights that money seems to be centre of Mr Birling's existence. He believes he can buy his way of this situation.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work