Essay on The Story of Eva Smith’s Life in Arthur Miller's An Inspector Calls

Essay on The Story of Eva Smith’s Life in Arthur Miller's An Inspector Calls

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The Story of Eva Smith’s Life in Arthur Miller's An Inspector Calls
Introduction:

John Boynton Priestley was born in Bradford in 1894. Priestley wrote
over 50 plays, the most notable being ‘Dangerous Corner’, ‘Time and
the Conways’, ‘When We Are Married’ and ‘An Inspector Calls’

‘An Inspector Calls’ was set in 1912 and is deliberately set before
the 2nd World War in order to convey a moral message that we have to
learn from our mistakes, and this is done through the inspector and
through Eva Smith. The play was first shown in 1945 and an audience
watching it would have the benefit of knowing what has happened in
relation to historical events mentioned in the play.

The whole play revolves around a symbolic character called Eva Smith.
She continuously changes her name to try and start a new life but
things always go wrong for her. For example when she gets fired from
Mr Birlings factory, she gets another job but Sheila Birling gets her
fired because she thought she was laughing at her. Eva is never seen
in the play and we only know what she looks like from what the
Inspector says about her. It is perhaps poignant that she is never
seen or heard in the play. It may point to the attitudes of the middle
and upper classes towards the lower classes symbolising that they
don’t really notice them,

Eva represents the lower class citizens that are treated like she was,
“there are millions of Eva Smiths and John Smiths still left with us,
with their lives … intertwined with ours … we don’t live alone.” She
is the little person to whom society has a duty, especially fortunate
Birlings.

...


... middle of paper ...


...ociety in which we live. Priestley
speaks through the inspector, he warns the audience of what will
happen if they don’t learn their lesson and that the attitudes of the
time are the wrong attitudes to have and are not the attitudes to have
if people want to move forward.

Conclusion

The attitudes of the middle and upper classes cause the tragic death
of Eva Smith; Priestley deliberately portrays the attitudes from
people at the time in a negative way. The younger generation watch
this play and realise that how they were treating the lower classes
was wrong and therefore change how they treat them. Priestley wants
his audience to see and accept his moral message, as revealed by the
inspector, to achieve a better future for all the people within the
society whether they are upper, middle or lower class citizens.

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