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Compare the effects that Eric and Gerald have on the life and death of Eva Smith. Who is more responsible for her death and how does Priestley influence the audience?

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Introduction

Compare the effects that Eric and Gerald have on the life and death of Eva Smith. Who is more responsible for her death and how does Priestley influence the audience? Both Gerald Croft and Eric Birling are key characters within the text. Both have effects on the life (and subsequent death) of Eva Smith. Priestley uses several different techniques within his writing to convey an influence as to who is more guilty, or responsible for Eva Smith's death. Whilst the decision is ultimately left up to the audience; through clever uses of oral indicators, literary techniques within the dialogue and descriptions given through other characters, Priestley makes it as sure as possible that we favor his opinion on the crime. ...read more.

Middle

Both Gerald and Eric have intimate relations with Eva Smith, but once again it is mentioned how Eric 'really can't remember' how Eva got pregnant, hinting perhaps that he did not care for her much at all. Gerald on the other hand, whilst being blamed for what he did through the Inspector, is also almost upheld in regards to how he initially treated Eva, and made her happy for a period of time. However, because of this, Gerald could be said to be more responsible for her death indirectly as he made her happy only to drop her completely and push her away. ...read more.

Conclusion

Overall, it is likely that both Gerald and Eric are almost equally responsible for Eva Smith's death. Gerald makes sure she is happy and contented, but seemingly 'keeps her' like a prostitute. Eric gets drunk and ends up getting Eva pregnant, but shows honest grief when he finds out she is dead due, in part, to him. Both Eric and Gerald have their strengths and faults in regards to Eva's death, but ultimately who is more responsible for it comes down to the opinion of the audience. Priestley seems to favor Gerald over Eric, indicating that Eric is the worse character through the descriptions given of him throughout the text and raising the status of Gerald through his general 'honesty' along with the almost uplifting statements that the Inspector makes about him. ...read more.

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