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The play " An Inspector Calls " by " J. B Priestly revolves around the Birling family.

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Introduction

An Inspector Calls The play " An Inspector Calls " by " J. B Priestly revolves around the Birling family. Arthur Birling, the head of the family, is a prosperous manufacturer in the industrial North midlands. The play is set in the early 20th Century and with in the opening scene the audience sees the family sitting down eating dinner, celebrating their daughter's engagement to Gerald Croft. During this gathering the family are interrupted by an Inspector Goole investigating the death of a local girl called Eva Smith. It transpires that each character has been involved in some way or another with the dead girl. The Inspector's findings irrevocably splits what appeared to be a united and happy family. The first character the audience is introduced to is the father, Arthur Birling. Arthur is a portentous man in his mid fifties with fairly easy manners. When the Inspector arrives Arthur is the first person the Inspector interrogates. ...read more.

Middle

I believe that this was one of the main reasons why Eva committed suicide. Gerald Croft is the next in this "Chain of Events". When Gerald is first interrogated by the Inspector he seems to be genuinely shocked and feels quite bad: "She was very pretty - soft brown hair and big dark eyes", " My God! " This mitigates his behaviour slightly, as he seems to feel guilty; we know this because his disjointed language shows he is emotional, proving his distress. He could be pretending so that everyone else thinks he feels guilty but I don't think this is the conclusion Priestley wanted the audience to make. It seems Gerald is in some state of recognition of what has happened but as the play transpires he reverts back to his original state of ignorance: "I'd like to be alone for a while - I'd be glad if you'd let me go". Significantly he leaves the house, which symbolises his no longer wanting to hear about the truth. ...read more.

Conclusion

This mitigates Eric's behaviour as he seems to have learnt a moral lesson. Eric volunteers information: "I stole some money, Gerald, you might as well know. It's what happened to the girl and what we all did to her that matters". This might decrease the audience's sympathy for Eric as he refers to Eva, as "the girl" so she still does not seem to be important to him. On the other hand it might increase your sympathy for Eric as he volunteers information showing he has developed a sense of responsibility. In conclusion I feel that who is most responsible for Eva Smith's downfall and subsequent suicide is immaterial and more importantly only Sheila and Eric have reached a point of moral responsibility. Mr and Mrs. Birling and Gerald are still in their original state of ignorance. Perhaps the arrival of the second inspector will change their judgement of Eva and the working class. I think Priestley's main purpose for writing the play was to raise the moral responsibility of the audience. ...read more.

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