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Which of the Characters do you feel is most responsible for the Death of Eva Smith? Throughout Priestley's play, "An Inspector Calls," there is an underlying theme of people's responsibility

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Introduction

Which of the Characters do you feel is most responsible for the Death of Eva Smith? Throughout Priestley's play, "An Inspector Calls," there is an underlying theme of people's responsibility towards others. All the characters are partly at fault for the death of Eva Smith but I am going to investigate who is most to blame for the death of Eva Smith. Mr. and Mrs. Birling could be partly to blame for many reasons. One way in which they are responsible is that Mr. Birling, "Can't accept any responsibility," and Mrs. Birling will, "Accept no blame for it all." This in a way makes them seem more to blame as they are not fooling anyone but are just backing up the difference between the two generations in terms of how they take responsibility. Mr. Birling is definitely to blame for the death of Eva Smith. He fired her from his factory for campaigning for higher wages. He justifies this by stating that, "It was [his] duty to keep labour costs down." This shows that he sees the workers in his factory not as people but as costs that restrict him from maximising his profit. ...read more.

Middle

Gerald is very polite and caring. We see this through his first actions involving Eva Smith - or Daisy Renton as he knew her. He rescues her from, "Old Joe Meggarty," who, "Had wedged her into a corner with that fat carcass of his," and, "Made her go to Morgan Terrace," making, "her take some money." From thereon in the play though, his actions were not as noble as his previous ones and may have been partly to blame for the death of Eva Smith. After allowing her to stay at Morgan Terrace he realises that he was becoming, "The most important person in her life," but rather than preventing her admiration for him, he allowed her to fall for him. He carried on misleading her, enjoying it, "For a time," as, "Nearly any man would've done." Apart from his involvement with Daisy Renton, we see that he is like Mr. and Mrs. Birling in that he wants to escape all responsibility and hand it to other people. Just when Gerald seems to have learnt from his actions; to have developed a 'Social conscience,' his attitude completely changes and he says the discovery of Inspector Goole, "Makes a difference of course." ...read more.

Conclusion

Eric's act of stealing money from his father could be interpreted in two ways. Although he was being noble and, "Giving her enough money to keep her going," he was breaking the law by stealing and this immaturity could go to show that he is more to blame for the death of Eva Smith. Although he was the final member of the Birling family to play a part in her life and probably the one that pushed her over the edge, he is repentant and takes responsibility for his actions. When the Inspector is found out as a fake, he does not brush aside what he did, but realises that, "The fact remains that I did what I did." Overall, Mr. and Mrs. Birling seem more responsible for the death of Eva Smith as although they should be the most mature, they refuse to accept that they are to blame. Also, they are the parents of Eric and Sheila so indirectly responsible for their actions. We see that Eric and Sheila are good at heart as they realise their wrongdoings after their first mistakes that are due to their parents' over protectiveness. Although there is a slight difference in the amount of responsibility each of them takes, they are all in the end partly responsible. ...read more.

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