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Which character do you think feels most responsible for Eva's death

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Introduction

In your opinion, which character feels most responsible for the death of Eva Smith? How does J.B. Priestly present their feelings through his use of language? An Inspector Calls is a dramatic play written by J.B. Priestly, it has several themes included in it, one of which is responsibility. The play points out the need for a sense of personal responsibility in every member of society. Not only should you be responsible for your individual actions but also how they may effect/hurt other people. At the end of the play not every character feels as responsible or regretful as they should for Eva Smith's death. J.B Priestly uses the character to show the audience a lesson. The way he phrases his words and uses the stage directions create a more real and dramatic effect. There are five main characters in the play and all are questioned individually during the inspector's stay. As the inspector is at the Birling household he tries to show the family how the upper and lower classes are not right in society and everyone is responsible for each other. In his concluding speech he says, ' We don't live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.' Remorse is essential before the healing can begin and the family needed to be taught this lesson. Mr.Birling is head of the household. He runs a very successful business and is always thinking of ways for it to become more successful, he is also strongly set in his ways of upper and lower class. He is the first person questioned over Eva's death because he set off the chain of reactions, although he doesn't believe he is to blame for the death. Even in general chat with friends he still refers to the upper and lower classes. His daughter Sheila is engaged to Gerald Croft and it comes across that he is generally happy for the loving couple, until he, Gerald and Eric are alone sitting down drinking port where he proposes a business opportunity to Gerald. ...read more.

Middle

They met at The Palace Variety Theatre where Gerald had gone for a drink. He saw this pretty girl having Alderman Meggarty forced upon her and she looked frightened by him, ' Old Meggarty half-drunk and google-eyed had wedged her into a corner.' Gerald sorted something out and in a way rescued the girl. Gerald said she didn't seem to fit in and he took her away from the smoky bar to the County Hotel where they had a drink and learnt a bit about each other's lives and pasts. He took her home but realised it was a tatty bed-sit. In fact, she hadn't any money. Gerald continues to say she couldn't even afford food so he offered for her to live in a proper flat he was looking after for a close friend of his. She took some persuading but agreed. He soon realised that they were from different social classes a d the relationship couldn't continue. He treated her like the ultimate princess and just dropped it with the click of his fingers, but she refused to blame him. Gerald then starts to reveal he was generally upset about Eva's death he says ' I wish to God she had now, perhaps I'd feel better about it' he wishes she would've blamed him and hated him for splitting with her for no reason. He doesn't seem in much regret because he did give her money and treated her so nicely when they were together, but he does see that he shouldn't have lead her on for so long. However he does say ' I'm rather more-upset-by this business than I probably appear to be' he then leaves and goes for a short walk. The inspector looks around the room and asks where Eric has gone. Mr.Birling searches the house and tells the inspector he must have gone out to cool off. ...read more.

Conclusion

The play being performed in today's society would have less of a contrast because people are more equal; there is still a lesson to be learnt- we should all be responsible for ourselves and others. In my opinion all the characters set off a chain reaction and weren't aware of the responsibilities they held as a family, individual and part of humanity. Sheila being the younger woman and weaker character had the most compassion and felt the guiltiest when she probably did the least wrong. Eric can see everyone else's mistakes and this make it easier for him to see his own. Mr. Birling is a self obsessed man and won't ever change; he has lived the same life for years and worked hard for his money and successful business. Mrs.Birling likes the luxuries of her lifestyle and the power she has over people, this is why she feels no regret, she can't appear weak in front of her family or the inspector. She doesn't comprehend that there is a different way to act. Both Mr. and Mrs.Birling have positions of great responsibility but show no responsibility in Eva's case. Gerald cared for Eva and felt guilty for a while but when he found the inspector was an impostor he forgot about it and didn't feel responsible because he didn't think it actually happened. The inspector voices the views about responsibilities most strongly and is joined by Sheila and to a lesser degree Eric. In a certain respect these characters act as a conscience for the other characters. Mr and Mrs. Birling express the opposite views and this makes a bigger contrast between the characters and thoughts on responsibilities. All characters must realise, accept and be responsible for the true results of what they've done. It's about everyone in humanity not just yourself and your actions - this is the moral that the characters were taught. J.B Priestly used a serious, exaggerated case to show the audience/ reader that everyone in humanity is equal and responsible for actions affecting themselves and others. ?? ?? ?? ?? Elizabeth Acland 10SIH ...read more.

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