Mrs. Birling the Culprit of Eva's Suicide
An Inspector Calls
“An Inspector Calls” is a play which was written by John Boynton
Priestley.“An Inspector Calls” is a play about a family called the
Birling family. One day, when they were celebrating the engagement of
their daughter, Sheila, and when they were having fun, an inspector
comes, and turns the happy night into misery.
Every character gives a first impression,the first person that seems
to be responsible for the death of Eva Smith was Mr. Birling
. He was
the owner of a mill and hired Eva Smith to work there. He admitted
that she worked well but had to make her redundant due to her asking
for an increase in wages and protesting against Mr. Birling not giving
her a rise. “We were paying the usual rates and if they didn’t like
those rates, they could go work somewhere else. It’s a free country,”
says Mr. Birling.
From Mr. Birling’s actions it does not seem to be the responsibility
of Mr. Birling for the death of Eva Smith. He was looking at the best
interests of his firm and it his firm would not run very efficiently
with a troublemaker. I also think he is not responsible because Eva
Smith must have thought of the consequences of protesting against low
The next person that seemed to be responsible for the death of Eva
Smith was Sheila Birling. After Eva Smith was made redundant from the
mills she managed to get a job at Milwards, a respectable upper class
department store. Sheila complained to the manager of Milwards because
Eva Smith giggled at her when she was trying on a hat.
I think that Sheila’s action of complaining to the manager of Milwards
can be justified. Sheila was jealous of Eva being prettier, being of
an upper class family to fire Eva Smith which I think, is very unfair.
Although Eva Smith was made redundant once again I think that Sheila
did contribute to the death of Eva Smith but is not the most
responsible person. When Sheila went shopping that day at Milwards she
was prepared to pay for the best service and she did not receive it
and complained which I think can be justified. Later Sheila admitted
that she would have never complained if she knew that Eva would have
After the incident at Milwards Eva Smith met a young man called Gerald
who, at that time, was dating Sheila Birling. They both had a
short-term romance. After seeing each other they thought it best to
stop meeting for several reasons, one being that Gerald was engaged to
Sheila. Gerald gave some money to Eva after they broke up and that is
where the romance finished.
I think that Gerald contributed in no way towards the death of Eva
Smith because this romance in no way could have effected Eva. I think
this because it was the decision of both of them to stop the romance
and could not have done either of them any harm. I think the opposite,
that this romance was good for Eva Smith because it would have raised
her knowing that she could, someday, settle down with a charming young
man. The relationship could have done Eva good because when they broke
up Gerald gave Eva some money to “See her through the year.” Gerald
also says, “She knew it wouldn’t last” proving that it was just a
temporary affair that both people knew would not last.
After Eva Smith met Gerald, she met Eric Birling who was a single man.
They saw each other for a period of time and were serious about each
other. This romance went to such a degree that Eva Smith got pregnant
and after this point they decided to end their relationship. Eric gave
Eva Smith a considerably large amount of money and then left her to
fend for herself. But Eric didn’t know Eva Smith was pregnant.
The relationship that Eva Smith and Eric Birling had was a very
serious one and there seemed to be nothing wrong with it apart from
the pregnancy. Eva Smith must have known that this relationship would
have been like any other ones she had had before and it might not work
out between the two of them. It is because of this that I think that
their relationship had a minor role in contributing to the death of
Eva Smith. In my opinion Eric would have helped Eva Smith out more
financially if he knew he had a child with Eva Smith. The pregnancy
would have worried Eva Smith a lot because how could she raise a child
with no father?
It was this worry that made Eva Smith seek assistance from a help
committee that was run by Mrs. Birling
. She did not provide any help
to Eva Smith because she used the name of Mrs. Birling. This
infuriated the real Mrs. Birling and because of this persuaded all the
members of the committee not to provide any financial or emotional
support to Eva Smith. “I looked into the claims made by this girl and
they did not seem to be very good so I used my influence to refuse her
case,” says Mrs. Birling.
From all the evidence it is obvious that Mrs. Birling was the main
culprit of the suicide of Eva Smith. Eva Smith needed support after
all the troubles that she had faced with and as a last resort she
turned to Mrs. Birling’s help committee. She must have though that she
was not needed after the help committee refused to help her. She must
have thought that all her troubles would never have been solved and
decided to take her own life. All this was due to the foolishness of
Mrs. Birling. Even though everyone played a minor role in leading Eva
to take her own life Mrs. Birling did not show the slightest bit of
remorse unlike the other people that played a minor role towards her
death. This gave me the image of Mrs. Birling being a very cold lady.
Eva Smith’s whole life fell apart because she had no money, no morale
support and a child to take care of alone and in my opinion she
deserved a lot of help.
After the inspector was gone, Sheila was quite confused “that’s all”
she said this like she wanted to be asked more questions, and she’s
not sure that she did the right thing by saying the truth about what
she did to Eva Smith,Mrs Birling was ashamed of her son Erica and when
Mrs Birling hears that Inspector Goole wasn’t a real inspector, she
was surprised and worried.