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In what ways does the story of Eva Smith's life, as revealed by the Inspector, make you aware of the attitudes of people at the time the play is set?

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In what ways does the story of Eva Smith's life, as revealed by the Inspector, make you aware of the attitudes of people at the time the play is set? Introduction: John Boynton Priestley was born in Bradford in 1894. Priestley wrote over 50 plays, the most notable being 'Dangerous Corner', 'Time and the Conways', 'When We Are Married' and 'An Inspector Calls' 'An Inspector Calls' was set in 1912 and is deliberately set before the 2nd World War in order to convey a moral message that we have to learn from our mistakes, and this is done through the inspector and through Eva Smith. The play was first shown in 1945 and an audience watching it would have the benefit of knowing what has happened in relation to historical events mentioned in the play. The whole play revolves around a symbolic character called Eva Smith. She continuously changes her name to try and start a new life but things always go wrong for her. For example when she gets fired from Mr Birlings factory, she gets another job but Sheila Birling gets her fired because she thought she was laughing at her. Eva is never seen in the play and we only know what she looks like from what the Inspector says about her. It is perhaps poignant that she is never seen or heard in the play. It may point to the attitudes of the middle and upper classes towards the lower classes symbolising that they don't really notice them, Eva represents the lower class citizens that are treated like she was, "there are millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us, with their lives ... ...read more.


Gerald had recently proposed to Sheila and they were celebrating their engagement the night the play is set. The first time Daisy Renton's name was mentioned Gerald gave himself away. "(Pulling himself together) D'you mind if I give myself a drink". Just by his surprised manner it is obvious that he is guilty. When the play was set it was not uncommon for men to have mistresses and it was almost classed as normal, even Alderman Meggarty who was a important figure in the town of Brumley, was seen in the Palace Bar, which surprised many of the Birlings. "Well really! Alderman Meggarty! I must say, we are learning something tonight". This shows us that young men of this era were not all they seemed. Gerald was engaged to a young woman and he held a very important reputation on the line but he still went ahead and had an affair with Daisy (Eva). This tells us that Gerald, and men like him, didn't have respect for their wives and were willing to risk everything just to be with a girl. Gerald's attitude towards other people was generally acceptable, but by him going off with Eva, it shows that he treats women like possessions and he is insensitive to other people's feelings. The way he describes his relationship with Daisy makes him sound like he is a hero and the innocent one." The girl saw me looking at her then gave me a glance that was nothing less than a cry of help". It seems like a coincidence that his friend was going away and leaving Gerald a set of keys to his apartment that he conveniently used. ...read more.


But take my word for it, you youngsters- and I've learnt in the good hard school of experience that a man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own" Priestley uses the Inspector to reveal the feeling of guilt that the Birlings and Gerald have from this experience and he also uses the Inspector to make the audience aware of how they should treat others less fortunate than themselves. "We are responsible for each other. And I tell you that the time will come soon when, if men will not learn that lesson, then they will be taught it in fire and anguish." The inspector is showing the need for community responsibility so that tragic events such as the one involving Eva Smith do not happen again. He is saying that a moral lesson needs to be learned in order to provide a better future for the society in which we live. Priestley speaks through the inspector, he warns the audience of what will happen if they don't learn their lesson and that the attitudes of the time are the wrong attitudes to have and are not the attitudes to have if people want to move forward. Conclusion The attitudes of the middle and upper classes cause the tragic death of Eva Smith; Priestley deliberately portrays the attitudes from people at the time in a negative way. The younger generation watch this play and realise that how they were treating the lower classes was wrong and therefore change how they treat them. Priestley wants his audience to see and accept his moral message, as revealed by the inspector, to achieve a better future for all the people within the society whether they are upper, middle or lower class citizens. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sam Chapman 10A ...read more.

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