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To what extent can the tragedy of Eva Smith be blamed on the society in which she lived? Eva Smith's death was tragic, who was to blame?

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Nicole Wilson To what extent can the tragedy of Eva Smith be blamed on the society in which she lived? Eva Smith's death was tragic, who was to blame? In this essay I will be investigating the death of Eva Smith and the links between her and the other characters in the play, and if they show any remorse. The first character I intend to discuss is Arthur Birling. Mr Birling is the man of the household, his relationship with Eva Smith occurred in the workplace. Eva Smith was employed by Birling and Company but was later discharged because she was refused a pay rise and caused a strike in the factory in which she worked. Mr Birling did not, and would not accept his responsibilities and did not believe that this incident affected Eva Smith's suicide, this is shown when Mr Birling is talking to the inspector, 'Still, I cant accept any responsibility.' Mr Birling is very arrogant, and is not open-minded. He believes a man has to look after himself. Mr Birling's main priority is his profit, and the only thing he is proud of is his business. ...read more.


Gerald met Daisy whilst at the Palace bar, when he saw and rescued her from Joe Meggary. From that point onwards he befriended her, and learnt all about her life. He provided her with a place to stay and by the end she was his mistress. There affair lasted about six months, then he realised he didn't love her, 'I didn't feel about her as she felt about me.' Throughout the affair he was still seeing Sheila. When Gerald realises that he is involved in Daisy's suicide he is very calm, but as he is forced to reveal more he gets more upset. In the end he is rather distressed, 'Sorry-I-well, I've suddenly realised-taken it in properly-that's she's dead-' The fact that Gerald gave her a more pleasant life for a while and then sent her back down does not compensate for what he did. It makes it all the more worse. He used Daisy then left her when their relationship became less convenient for him. This would have made Daisy feel awful about herself, her self-esteem would have been so low as she knew she had been used. Gerald has a lot of the blame to take as he was one of the people who made her feel worse, not about what she did, but about herself. ...read more.


Mrs Birling met Eva when she was pregnant and alone. Mrs Birling worked for the Brumley Woman's Charity where Eva went to for help when she had nowhere else to turn. Mrs Birling felt that Eva was putting on her airs above her station, and was uncaring about her situation and made sure that the committee refused Eva. During Mrs Birling's questioning she is very cold and untouched by the situation. Whilst recounting her involvement with Eva, Mrs Birling failed to show any emotion or regret what so ever. She basically believed that Eva got what she had deserved in the first place, 'I was perfectly justified...I accept no blame for it at all.' Mrs Birling is a cold-hearted person and she behaves in an uncaring manner. I believe she is very much to blame as when Eva was feeling her lowest Mrs Birling was the person who deliberately made her life worse by refusing her into the charity. If Eva had of been middle or upper class she would not have been treated like she was by all the characters. Sybil and Arthur Biling were both obsessed with the aspect of social class, as they liked to have some sort of authority over people. Many of the reasons that the events happened in the play come down to the society in which Eva lived in and social class. ...read more.

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