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Who was most to blame for the Death of Eva Smith?

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Rosalia TaylorOctober 2011 Who was most to Blame for the Death of Eva Smith? I think that there were many people to blame for the death of Eva Smith. I am going to highlight the character traits of each individual comparing the way they acted. All of which contributed to the death of Eva Smith. The Birling family have a high social status, being upper class and living in a large house with at least one servant. This meant that most of the family were very well brought up and, like many at the time, were brought up to be class conscious people. Mr. Birling and Mrs. Birling are no exception to this stereotype of the time. Both seem constantly aware of their hierarchy and behave in a way that suggests they have little care for others less fortunate than themselves. “A man has to make his own way” Mr. Birling says when talking to his daughters fiancé about life. Though this should not be a characteristic of Mrs. Birling, it is. Working in a charity that aims to help women in trouble, Mrs. Birling met Eva in the final weeks of her life but after hearing her distressing story had little sympathy for the girl due to the fact she was under the false name of “Mrs. Birling”. This made her very angry and biased towards Eva and her case. Using her high social status Mrs. Birling made sure that the charity turned Eva away, which, as a consequence pushed Eva to desperation. Had it been her own daughter, or even a women of a higher class, it is likely that Mrs. ...read more.


It seems that Gerald only thought of the consequences of his actions later on in the play. ?I?ve suddenly realized ? taken it in properly - that?s she?s dead? Some may say that what Eric and Gerald did was similar but there is a difference as though they both did wrong Gerald was actually in his right mind. Eric however was not fully aware of what he was doing., though I think that it was him that felt and displayed the most guilt. Struggling still at the end to come to terms with what he had done, Eric was upset during the whole evening. Whereas Sheila and Gerald felt guilt mostly during the evening Eric had clearly been upset since his first encounter with Eva. ?My God- I?m not likely to forget? This shows that he actually thought of the consequences of his actions not only after he did what he did but during. Being distraught throughout, he was thinking of the things he had done to Eva rather than placing blame on others. This was not the case for many of the other characters. Mrs. Birling began by putting all the blame on the boy who got Eva pregnant exclaiming that he should be brought to justice and made a public example of. However after realising that this irresponsible young man was her son she was quick to take back what she said. Rather than reflecting on her part in the death of Eva Smith, Mrs. Birling seemed to think that it was more important to place the blame on someone else. Mr. Birling too shared this view and, instead of grieving, immediately interrogated Eric on the money that he borrowed to help Eva. ...read more.


I feel that Mrs. Birling was equally to blame as had she shown some kindness towards Eva in her final weeks and offered her the help she was so desperately in need of then she would never have committed suicide and would still be alive with her young child. It was their character traits that I believe led to the actions they took during their personal encounters with Eva Smith and it was Mr. and Mrs. Birling?s personalities that led to her death. When he realised Eva needed help Gerald didn?t consider the consequences of his relationship, this was hard on Sheila but just an example of the way he felt about those less fortunate than himself. Gerald tried to set up Eva smith in a room and accommodation so that she could respectfully and leant her money so that she could live well. Mrs B did at some point talk about the a=way the inspector spoke to her, reflecting more on his manners that what she had done to a poor defenceless girl really in need of help. Mr. birling was very angry, but not at himself. He put all his blame eon his son. Everyone was to blame but he didn?t think so. Gerald did not put much blame on anyone and rarely stayed his opinion though he did sometimes indicate the fact that he felt remorse and that he placed some blame on Eric but very little. He was accepting of the fact that Eric had a drinking problem and that what he did was a mistake unlike others. ?we drove that girl to suicide? Who was most to Blame for the Death of Eva Smith? ...read more.

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