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Who is most responsible for the death of Eva Smith?

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Introduction

Who is most responsible for the death of Eva Smith? An inspector calls is a play that was written in 1945 by J. B. Priestley. When the play was written the war in Europe had just ended, as had the coalition government that had been in action during the war. This gave people a chance to vote for a new government, a vote that the Labour government won by a landslide victory. This new government was meant to give everyone an equal chance after the war, and 'An Inspector Calls' is effectively propaganda showing how this new government is improved over the social structure running before it (namely when the play is based before the war). The play is set in 1912, just before the beginning of the first world war, when British social structure depended on class and wealth to such an extent that if a person had no job or social standing then they were literally destitute. Essentially the play is only trying to portray how Labour would make this kind of 1912 society non-existent, so that there would be no more pompous, rich Birling like characters. ...read more.

Middle

Gerald is a very down-to-earth, forward thinking young man whom is very logical in his approach and is in fact a bit of a hybrid between the two generations. He is guilty of previously taking Eva Smith as a mistress behind his fianc�e's back, and while he feels regret over what he has done, he still thinks like Mr and Mrs Birling in that it is not directly his fault and that he cannot therefore be held responsible. The inspector seems to see through all this however and, one by one, interrogates them so as to make them feel fear and guilt from their actions. He gains control over them as soon as he enters the room and manages to maintain his authority right until he is gone. He gives an impression of impregnable solidity that cannot be opposed, and he subdues them so well with this that they do not even begin to question whether or not he is a genuine inspector until long after he has left. This is helped even more by the fact that his timing is impeccable for dramatic effect, due to the fact that he appears just after they have finished a good meal celebrating Sheila's engagement to Gerald. ...read more.

Conclusion

with the welfare of the nation and that the problems brought on by the previous coalition government, such as rationing and job loss, would come to an end. He is simply saying that the new Labour represents a 'glimmer of hope' for the less fortunate of the British workforce. The underlying theme is that not one of the characters can be pinned down as being the most responsible as they are ALL responsible, in some way or another, for contributing the death of Eva Smith. Eric and Sheila try to explain to their arrogant, unrealistic parents that now even if there wasn't an Eva Smith, they have to change their attitudes or they will end up harming the many other millions of John and Eva Smiths in the world. It is only a fitting ending to the play then, that the arrogant adult Birlings receive a call describing an identical case that had just occurred. D�j� vu, Perhaps, but the moral is that if the pompous, arrogant upper classes will not learn from their mistakes then there will no longer be room for them in society and they will have to suffer just as much as the poor working class Smiths. ...read more.

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