Examining Who is Responsible for Eva's Death in Priestly's Play, An Inspector Calls

Examining Who is Responsible for Eva's Death in Priestly's Play, An Inspector Calls

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The play ‘An Inspector Calls’ is set in the North Midlands, the industrial city of Brumley in 1912. The play revolves around the death of a young girl named Eva Smith and the wealthy, middle class Birling family. The Birling family consists of four main members. In addition, there is Gerald Croft who is engaged to the daughter of the family, Sheila Birling, and the maid Edna who plays a small role in the play.
Throughout Priestley’s play, ‘An inspector calls’, a main theme runs about responsibility and differentiation between classes. Each character is accountable of doing something that brought about the death of Eva smith. All the characters contribute to her death in one way or the other, and all of them are at fault for the death of Eva Smith, however, I am going to examine who is most to blame for her death.
Mr Birling is a contributing factor to why Eva Smith killed herself. He is responsible in one way because he was not able to ‘accept any responsibility’, and this shows he is to partly to blame because he isn’t tricking anyone, but he is taking the two generations and backing up differences between them according to how responsibilities are taken. As well as that, he fired her from his factory due to campaigning for higher wages. He says it was his duty to cut down labour costs, therefore this shows that he considers his factory workers as people who limit him from raising his profit. In order to justify this, he says ‘If you don’t come down sharply on these people, they’d soon be asking for the earth’. From Mr Birling’s character we can see that he is mature and believes in self-responsibility. He clearly states that ‘A man has to look after himself and his own’. He doesn’t think he is liable for his workers. All these...


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...e partly to blame, but their actions reflect upon their parents, so they are a shadow of their parents. They both realise what they’ve done wrong and accept their mistakes. The inspector in the play tries to show the Birling’s that their wrongdoings bring them to situations in which the lives of other people are affected, regardless of what their status is. Sheila is also to blame as Eva had an opportunity of living and earning money, however she was fired by Sheila. The rest of the characters played a part in leading Eva to death, but not as serious as the four main characters. All characters contributed to the leading factors of Eva Smith’s death. They were all involved, and all showed faults in their actions, however Mrs. Birling was most at fault. If Mrs Birling helped Eva, things wouldn’t have turned out the way they did, and Eva may not have committed suicide.

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