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Do you think inspector Goole is successful in convincing the Birling family and Gerald of their personal responsibility towards other people?

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Introduction

Do you think inspector Goole is successful in convincing the Birling family and Gerald of their personal responsibility towards other people? This essay will explore whether inspector Goole is successful in convincing the Birling family and Gerald of their personal responsibility towards other people in the play 'an Inspector Calls,' by J.B Priestley. Goole is successful in convincing the characters of their responsibility to a certain extent. Goole has more effect on the younger generation compared to the older, for example Shelia feels fully responsible compared to some of the older characters. In the play some of the characters change radically after interrogation. Birling appears to be a self-important conceited man. This is implied when Birling makes comments such as 'I'm talking as a hard headed practical man of business.' Birling also tries to impress Gerald, 'Finchley told me it's exactly the same port your father gets from him'. Birling seems to be easily convinced, 'the Titanic sail next week...and every luxury- and unsinkable'. This is dramatic irony as the audience know the titanic will sink. Birling puts himself across as a responsible man because he has a business which obviously requires responsibility in order to running a successful business. In Act 1 Birling says '...im still on the bench' which infers he is a magistrate suggesting that he takes an active part in the community Sybil Birling (Mrs Birling) ...read more.

Middle

This suggests Birling himself feels he is going to be found out in which case he is bound to be 'panic stricken'. Gerald initially tries to cover up his role in Eva's death. He does this because he was not around a lot in the summer, which Sheila states in act 1, this was because in the summer Gerald was with Daisy Renton also known as Eva Smith, so he initially tries to cover it up so Sheila will not find out. . As both Gerald and Eva are from different social standings, he would never cross the classes to leave Sheila. Gerald is honest when he finally opens up when questioned by the inspector, as he knows the inspector knows about the situation. He knows this because he appears to have known about everyone else's situation, so obviously he is aware of Gerald's. Gerald feels guilty from the way he treated Eva. This is shown when he says '...she didn't blame me at all. I wish to god she had now. Perhaps I'd feel better about it'. As the interrogation progresses Gerald tries to hide his true feelings that he showed for Eva because he states '...as im rather more - upset by this business I would like to be alone', which is implying he did have feelings for Eva. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sheila and Mrs Birling both have very different attitudes towards their personal responsibly. Sheila has been significantly affected by this where as Mrs Birling is more worried about a public scandal. At the end of Act Two she has gone back to her complacent attitude as at the start of the play. The dramatic irony starts to come through in the play in Act Two as the audience have started to guess Eric is the father of Eva's baby. The Birlings and Gerald are all involved in contributing to Eva's suicide, so when Eric is the last one to be questioned, it starts to become obvious because the father of the child has not come in yet. Each character displays different attitudes towards responsibility. It is all about class and generation. The older characters such as Mr and Mrs Birling have limited respect for the inspector and his inferences as to their culpability. This maybe due to their rigidity, to which they stick to their social standing and their concern over how Eva Smiths death will affect them and their reputation. As the younger and possibly more down to earth characters have less to loose, for instance Sheila, Eric who are younger and have more respect for the inspector and his figure of authority. Gerald is there to impress people, particularly Mr and Mrs Birling as he needs to fit into the family as Sheila's fianc�e. Stacey Heywood 10G ...read more.

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