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Social and Moral responsibilites of the characters?

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Social and Moral responsibilites of the characters? Mr Birling opens the play with "You ought to like this port, Gerald. As a matter of fact, Finchley told me it�s exactly the same port your father gets from him." From just Birling�s first line of dialogue, it shows him trying to social climb by getting just a humble bottle of port. Class is the most important thing in Birling�s life and he doesn�t care who he steps on to get to the top. One of Birling�s aspirations in life is to get his daughter, Sheila, married to the wealthy businessman Gerald Croft, who owns Croft Limited. He sees this engagement as good for business - "We may look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing, but are working together for lower costs and higher prices." Mr Birling has the tendency to be rather patronising towards the poor and the working class, leading to the oration that is essential to the plot of the play. "But the way these cranks talk and write now, you�d think everybody has to look after everybody else, as if we were all mixed up together like bees in a hive - community and all that nonsense. I�ve learnt that man has to mind his own business and look after himself and his own - and -" The doorbell interrupts the speech. ...read more.


When the Inspector leaves, Sheila is traumatised. She is fully aware of the responsibilities of the people around her and herself and will become a better person because of it. She has taken responsibility of her actions and understands that a lesson has to be learnt from the Inspector�s visit, prank or not. J.B Priestly shows Sheila learning and changing her attitudes and beliefs about people and society, and we feel that her future attitude to others will be more caring, self-controlled and responsible. Gerald is present throughout Sheila and Birling�s confession and he believes he has no part to play, until he hears the name 'Daisy Renton.� As the story thickens, Gerald reveals that he had a secret affair with Daisy after meeting her in a bar. At first his intentions were decent, but finally he admits that her feelings towards him were stronger than his, towards her. When he finally leaves her, he felt guilt about being only able to offer he temporary help. But the feeling that Priestly wants us to have is sympathy because "Daisy told me she�d been happier than she�d ever been before." Gerald did have genuine feelings for Daisy but knowing that she was of a different class, Gerald couldn�t take it any further. The regret for the way he used her was also very indisputable but he does not have the same deep response as Sheila did to the Inspector�s message. ...read more.


Eric offers her stolen money from his father�s office, but when Eva finds out, she refuses to accept anymore. Even though, he is selfish and thoughtless, he is impressed by the Inspector�s message. He wants his parents to admit their mistakes as freely as he admitted his. We, as the audience, feel that he has learnt a lesson, he is earnestly ashamed of his behaviour and we believe he is capable of changing for the better. In my opinion, Mr Birling is the most responsible for the death of Eva Smith. Although his actions were slight and thoughtless when sacking Eva, they started a chain of exploits that ultimately destroyed her. My beliefs on the responsibility of each the characters is heightened by their responses when the Inspector leaves. Only Sheila and Eric have accepted their responsibility, they are fully aware of the impact of the Inspector�s message and are better people because of it. Mr Birling�s complete and utter ignorance and duplicitous about the matter makes me believe that he was the one who killed her. Mrs Birling would be the runner-up because of her hypocritical and spiteful ways of dealing with the Inspector. I think Priestly made the most responsible characters the older individuals because, generally, older people are more set in their ways. Ultimately, I believe that Priestly used each of the characters to portray a different part of society and he personified their actions to the death of Eva Smith. I believe that Mr Birling has the most responsibilities, morally and socially, and he unwillingness to accept them shows his utter insolence. ...read more.

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