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Who is responsible for the demise of Eva's death? What does Priestley attempt to demonstrate through the staging of this play?

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An Inspector Calls Characters Arthur Birling Sybil Birling ~ his wife Sheila Birling ~ his daughter Eric Birling ~ his son Edna ~ the maid Gerald Croft Inspector Goole Essay Who is responsible for the demise of Eva's death? What does Priestley attempt to demonstrate through the staging of this play? John Boynton Priestley wrote 'An Inspector Calls' in 1945, just after World War Two, but like another of his plays (Eden End) it was set in 1912, the period just before the First World War. Whilst watching the play, the audience will know the future events and the characters will not, so this works well with the play to create dramatic irony. This is really effective in 'An Inspector Calls' because it demonstrates how Arthur Birling is naive and ill-informed. Having grown up into his father's circle of socialist friends, Priestley found himself joining in with their political arguments. He says: "I was politically minded to some extent but never able to put politics first. (introduction, pg. iv.) He formed strong opinions against capitalism and 'for' communism. He was passionate about his socialist beliefs, believing that all people were equal and that "the effects of an individual's actions over a passage of time..." could have disastrous or even fatal outcomes as they all add up. ...read more.


and laughing she was very cross. She used her high position to intimidate the shopkeeper and to see to it that this girl was sacked. She told the shop keeper that she would persuade her mother to withdraw her account with them if they did not fire her. Of course the shop keeper had no choice but to dismiss Eva. Sheila afterwards admits that she would not have complained if Eva had not been so pretty. However, Sheila seems the most sorry of all of them, she is shown to be a hypocrite, but she is her fathers daughter, what can we expect? She has been brought up by Arthur. She does seem quite genuine though and she is truly sorry. Having been sacked from her first job, sacked from her second one, when she meets Gerald Croft she is quite desperate. He set her up in a friend's apartments, gave her money, food and she fell in live with him. He knew this himself: "I became at once the most important person in her life - you understand? . . . I didn't feel about her as she felt about me." (pg. 37-38) We find this out when the inspector turns on him, out of the blue, and asks him where he met her. ...read more.


does not take this, but Sheila and Eric do (the younger generation.) This all adds up to the message that capitalism was to blame for the destruction of people's lives, hopes and happiness. In this play Priestley uses names to represent stereotypes. The name Smith represents the 'masses' and the name Renton suggests that Eva was a prostitute whilst the Birling family represents capitalists and the privileged. I think that in particular inspector Goole is Priestley's key to show the audience a public conscience. This effect and all the others explained in the essay bring forward the message that it was not just the Birlings who killed Eva but an attitude of mind bread by capitalism. This was what Priestley had always believed in, and tried to endorse in this play "An Inspector Calls." Among the different ways that Priestley demonstrates the blame on capitalism are the creation of dramatic irony and showing that actions over a passage of time can be disastrous. Towards the end of the plat the inspector finalises it all with his speech, which concludes the story of Eva Smith/Renton. At the very end, having found out that the inspector is fake, there is a telephone call saying that a girl has died from drinking disinfectant on her way to the infirmary. This leaves the audience guessing. My guess is that because not all the family learnt from their mistakes, they have thrown away their second chance and Inspector 'Goole' now makes the story come true. ...read more.

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