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In your view, who was most responsible for the death of Eva Smith?

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls In your view, who was most responsible for the death of Eva Smith? An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly, a play, which was first, performed in 1945. The play was set in 1912 before World War I. The play centres' around the wealthy Birling family. A visit from a mysterious Inspector Goole becomes a horrifying experience for the Birlings', as they learn that they have all played a part in the suicide of a young girl called Eva Smith. She died by swallowing some strong disinfected in an infirmary. Priestley's main aim was to encourage people to take responsibility for their actions, not to shift the blame on to others. Although each member of the Birling family and Gerald Croft have had contact with Eva Smith, none of them were aware of the others� involvement in the tragedy until the day of the inspector's visit. He makes each of them aware of the part they had played that lead to her tragic end. The characters each reacted differently to the news and the degree of responsibility contributing to the death varied between them. They all through their selfishness had shown to contribute to Eva Smiths' decision to kill herself. We must remember it wasn't a crime. No one should be held responsible. It's a moral issue. It was not only people that contributed to Eva Smith's death but her position in the world and the way in which her life worked out. ...read more.

Middle

Eva Smith was in love with Gerald and being thrown out by him left her not only homeless but heartbroken. I feel that he leaves her in a worse state than either Mr. Birling or Sheila had. Gerald's character is further described when he remarks on young women that they should be 'protected against unpleasant and disturbing things' is rather hypocritical in the light of what he's done to Eva Smith. Perhaps he does not feel lower class women need this protection. Gerald was the only one that tried to help Eva Smith, unlike all the others who were simply punishing her. Even if Gerald had not been responsible for the death of Eva Smith, his actions certainly had consequences as he was engaged to Sheila, who now knows that Gerald was actively having another relationship while they were together. This puts their relationship into doubt, something that Mr Birling would no doubt be displeased about. Mrs. Birling shows characteristics in some ways, to be very similar to her husbands' and denies any responsibility herself. Instead, choosing to blame others, which later becomes a very bad decision. Mrs Birling treats the Inspector in a demeaning and threatening way, 'I realise you may have to conduct some kind of enquiry but I must say you seem to be conducting it in a rather peculiar and offensive manner.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The responsibility should be shared by the family and their future actions affected to aid others and not just themselves. I think Priestley's message of the play was to explain to us that if we are like the Birling�s then we need to change, and be more considerate and caring towards others, "We are members of one body, we are responsible for each other". This quote taken from the inspector's last speech, I think sums up exactly what Priestley was trying to get across. Priestly undermines Mr. Birling 'rather portentous man,' who believes his only responsibility is to his family, right at the start of the play. He is shown as short sighted and wrong. His prediction that, 'There isn't a chance of war' World war within two years, with a second to follow within the same lifetime.' And 'The Titanic: 'unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable' SS Titanic sinks on her maiden voyage'. This dramatic irony at his expense encourages us to question how many of his other beliefs are correct. Priestly, as a socialist is not sympathetic to what the capitalist 'Mr. Birling' believes. Priestly may have experienced difficulties during wartime, this may have led him to believe that in order to live in a peaceful world man must consider his responsibility to fellow men. I think that this play, which was written in 1947 and set in 1912, would have made an impact on its audience, making dramatic irony and made them self-conscious. ...read more.

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