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Who is to Blame for the Death of Eva Smith? An Inspector Calls, by J.B. Priestly

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Introduction

Who is to Blame for the Death of Eva Smith? An Inspector Calls, by J.B. Priestly, tells the story (in a form of a play), of a young girl, Eva Smith. Who, has a 'chain' of unfortunate luck brought on by one family, results in her death. The story in more depth tells 'us', the audience, to think about others, and the way we treat them. And the responsibilities we should take upon ourselves for our actions. In addition, how we can look down on others. With the warning that without thinking of others, and maybe acting too much on impulse, you could do more harm than you once intended. In my essay, I will try to examine who actually was to blame for the death of Eva Smith. The story begins when the mysterious Inspector Goole calls on the Birling's. Once the inspector explains about Eva, the story shatters the foundations of the family and makes us question, individually, their conscience. It is important to remember that no member of the family is legally responsible for Eva's death, it simply a moral responsibility. Arthur Birling was the first to be questioned under the inspector. Arthur was Eva's employer. However, after a dispute about low wages, in which Eva was the leader of the protest, she was fired due to Arthur's disapproval of this out burst. ...read more.

Middle

Shelia It is more emotional when confronted by the inspector as well as when the others are confronted. We see Shelia's Character changes from a selfish little spoiled child to a more moral figure. 'These girls aren't cheap labour- they're people.' Moreover, when the guilt really sets in we can see the turning point. 'If she'd been some miserable plain little creature, I don't suppose I'd have done it..... I couldn't be sorry for.' With these feelings of guilt, she dumps Gerald. This yet again is an act on impulse and could suggest to us, the audience, that she will find it hard to change her ways and stop acting on impulse. And is almost not her fault for acting on impulse, as that is the way she has been bought up. Shelia is very weary about the inspector. However, at the same time she wants to be involved with the investigations to see who is to blame, and if they are learning from their mistakes. Shelia is probably the most sympathetic member of the group we see how she constantly feel sorry for Eva. Eric Birling is the son off Sybil and Arthur Birling. Known to Eric as Daisy Renton, they had a casual affair. They neither loved one another. 'I wasn't in love with her or anything- but I liked her-She was pretty and a good sport.' ...read more.

Conclusion

it was quite normal to treat people the way the Birling's individually treated Eva. It is also interesting to see how the younger members of the family (e.g. Eric and Shelia) are willing to admit to the selfish ways they treated Eva. But more importantly how the younger members, of the family, are willing to learn from their mistakes and therefore change. While the older members of the family remain stubborn and unwilling to admit how poorly they treated Eva, and therefore how they will never change and learn from their mistakes. This is because the older members of the family are set in their ways. I think when we look at Eva and the Birling's, specifically; they were to blame for her death. This is because the entire incidents caused by the Birling's did cause a strong chain which built up to the death of Eva. With out the first incident of which Arthur Birling fired Eva no other incidents would have happened. It was almost like fait bought each event on, one after the other. So specifically I think the Birling's were to blame for Eva's death. But it was the affect of society on the Birling's and on Eva as that is the way different classes were allowed to treat one another. Eva was obviously affected by her unfortunate luck which just so happened to be bought on by one particular family. This unfortunate luck, I think, did drive Eva to suicide. Therefore the moral blame should be placed upon the Birling's but more so on society. ...read more.

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