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how does J.B Priestley's play an inspector calls investigate the idea of social responsibility

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An Inspector calls essay J.B Priestley's play an inspector calls investigates the idea of social responsibility. The Birling family and Gerald Croft are in some way responsible for the death of a young woman, Eva Smith. This essay will show who is responsible for the death of Eva Smith and will discuss the role of guilt and blame in An Inspector calls. It will also show how the Inspector plays a big part and how he has the power to make people tell the truth. As the play opens, the Birling family and Gerald Croft are celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling and Gerald Croft. They are both really excited about their up coming marriage. In the stage directions it shows that the family are happy and celebrating, it says "At the moment they have all had a good diner, are celebrating a special occasion, and are pleased with themselves." The audience should feel that the family are rich because they are all dressed up and are drinking port. The audience can see that the family are pleased with themselves and that they see themselves as upper class. The actor playing Birling should show that the family are well off and happy by looking important and taking control. He speaks to make him seem more upper class. He shows that his family are high up in society. Mr Birling says to Gerald " your father and I have been friendly rivals in business for some time now-though Crofts limited are both older and bigger than Birling and company." This shows that Mr. ...read more.


She tells the inspector how she played a part in Eva's death, by getting her sacked. When the inspector questions her he should speak forcefully and accusingly because Sheila is made to feel guilty and responsible quite easily. You the audience should be able to tell she is really worried and guilty by the physical transformation. Her appearance should start to look messier for example her hair could become bedraggled, and her clothes could become ripped. Sheila clearly feels guilty and responsible; this can be shown with her sitting with her head in her hands. The way she feels is shown when she says "this is terrible and we all drove her to her death". By the end of the play Sheila is a changed and more caring woman because she accepts responsibility. This is shown when she says "The worst part is, but you're forgetting one thing I still can't forget, everything we said has still happened" and she also says tensely "I want to get out of this". When the news of Gerald having an affair with Eva is revealed Sheila is changed by this as well. In the stage directions for the play Gerald is described as a good person. It said "Gerald Croft is an attractive chap about thirty, rather too manly to be a dandy but very much the easy well- bred young man-about-town". This shows that he is a well brought up young man who is popular and it is saying he is a man of the town. ...read more.


He does this by starting off a sentence which the family would continue with and he accuses them of what they did so in their defence reveal everything. The inspector engages the audience by building up tension. His ideas of social responsibility show Priestley's (the play writer) own views, as he is a socialist. At the end of the play the inspector says"each of you killed Eva". I think this true but I think Mrs Birling is the person who is to blame the most. Eva was probably in the most desperate time of her life as she was pregnant and was really poor. Mrs Birling turned her away and made sure no one else would take her in. Eric and Sheila feel bad about what they have done and accept their role in Eva's death where as no one else does. Before the inspector leaves he makes a speech he says "One Eva Smith might be dead but there are millions more". He goes on to say that they should not destroy anyone else's life like they have done to Eva. I think this shows that the inspector is there to point out that what they have done was wrong and has killed someone. He tries to say that everyone is the same whether they are rich or poor. He also tries to point out that the Birlings are not better than any one else and shows them there ways of error. I have discussed the role of guilt and blame in inspector calls and how vital the inspector is in revealing everything. ...read more.

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