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How Does J.B Priestley encourage an audience of An Inspector Calls to consider the issue of social responsibility?

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In a Section Of Your Choice, And The Play As a Whole, How Does J.B Priestley Encourage An Audience Of An Inspector Calls To Consider The Issue Of Social Responsibility? The setting of An Inspector Calls takes place in a dining room of a self-made business man named Mr Arthur Birling, in the backdrop of a Midlands industrial town in the year of 1912. The plot itself involves the Birling family celebrating the engagement of Shelia Birling to Gerald Croft. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. Mr Birling talks of progress and makes several references that his advice is coming from that of hard-headed business man 'And I'm talking as a hard-headed, practical man of business'. A police inspector then calls upon the Birling residents to investigate the recent suicide of Eva Smith who has just died in the infirmary. The inspector seems to know where in the chain of events of Eva Smiths life each of the members of the Birling family fell, by receiving, answers to a series of demanding questions that the inspector puts forward to them. ...read more.


His actions in not paying his workers just a few pounds more resulted, in the case, of Eva Smith, her death. This naivety seems to be common place in the Birling household When it comes to society in the case of Sybil as wife and mother of a wealthy respectable family it's almost to Mrs Birling her duty to keep it this way. Being brought up into an upper-class family her social values are probably no different to that of her parents and she does what she sees is right and when the inspector asks her a personal question she feels no shame. '...I did nothing that I'm ashamed of or that won't bear investigation'. She, though, soon realises that her 'duty' in keeping this family respectable in upper-class society is soon shattered by the unfolding events of the night. 'I must say, we are learning something tonight'. The blame that Sybil passes is soon quickly mentioned. The audience now knows that Sybil does not, like her husband, accept responsibility for the death of Eva and as such passes to what I think she thinks is a working-class boy who had got Eva pregnant. ...read more.


Shelia feels responsible for what she has done and doesn't agree with her father that these are just some sort of working-class peasants. 'But these girls aren't cheap labour-they're people'. Eric also feels remorse and agrees with the view of the inspector 'It's what happened to the girl and what we all did to her that matters'. In conclusion all the characters within the play have some form of responsibility for what they have done in the chain of events of the life of Eva Smith. Some of the characters have accepted responsibility and really feel remorse, Shelia. Others such as, Birling, who alongside with Mrs Birling accepts no personal responsibility and blames it socially on another class and as such stick to there own self-absorbed upper-class ways. But can one really blame them? After all the audience will be able to see that Mrs Birling has done wrong but she can't. It's the way in which she has been brought up on these social values, almost like I'm better than you, she's been taught that she is better than the working-class as she is more respected and has more money. So has more power than the rest of them. JUSTIN WHITEFOOT 1 ...read more.

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