J.B.Priestley’s play, An Inspector Calls - Eva Smith

J.B.Priestley’s play, An Inspector Calls - Eva Smith

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Eva Smith - character study.

There are many reasons for the death of Eva Smith. Each one of the
Birling family and Gerald pushed Eva Smith a little closer to suicide
but no one person was solely responsible for her death. It was not
only the Birling's that contributed to Eva Smith's death but her
position in the world she was in, she was very poor and low in society

Mr Birling was the first person who we were led to believe started off
the train of events that led to the death of Eva Smith. I don't
believe that Mr Birling did anything that ultimately push Eva to
commit suicide the only thing he did was sack her from his factory
after she started to cause trouble demanding higher wages and getting
the other girls in the factory to go on strike. Most men in his
position would have done the same. Mr Birling said to the inspector,
'She had a lot to say far too much so she had to go´.

Although I don't think that Mr Birling did anything really wrong
regarding Eva he does not come off well throughout the play as he
shows himself up a number of times because of his personality. The
major fault in his personality is that he seems to show no remorse for
Eva and his son Eric is annoyed by this. He seems to be a very hard
man, and shows no regret for dismissing Eva which led to her death.

Sheila was the second person that the Inspector turned on and her part
in the run up to Eva's death shows her in an unfavourable light as she
turned on Eva because she was jealous of her. Sheila wrongfully used
her position as an important customer to turn Eva out of a job. She
even admits, 'it was my own fault´, and that she 'was in a furious
temper´. She was jealous of Eva describing her as a 'very pretty girl
too - with big dark eyes´.

Although her actions show her to be a bad tempered, jealous and
malicious person you get the impression as she begins to talk that
that is quite a harsh view of her and that although she does have bad
characteristics she isn´t really as bad as you first think her to be.
She shows herself to be honest admitting straight away all that she
had done, that she caught sight of her smiling at the assistant and 'I
was furious with her´.

Gerald was the third person to come under the spotlight.

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J.B.Priestley’s play, An Inspector Calls - Eva Smith Essay

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Gerald must
of felt differently towards Eva than Mr Birling or Sheila because he
knew her in person, not as Eva Smith but as Daisy Renton, who was his
mistress, for a while until it was no longer convenient for him. I
think that Gerald considered himself as Eva's saviour. He says that
she 'gave me a glance that was nothing more than a cry for help´. I
believe that he did genuinely care for Eva but he didn't love her as
he admitted that. 'I didn't feel about her as she felt about me´.
Although Eva's felling for Gerald he never would have married Eva
because of his old fashion views on the class difference.

Gerald was honest admitting his part in Eva's death. He shows signs of
remorse in what he did in front of Sheila but I think he did not care
what happened to Eva.

The next person that the Inspector interrogates is Mrs Birling. Before
Mrs Birling the Inspector had been talking to each person in order of
when they met Eva. However Mrs Birling was in fact the last person to
have seen Eva and was the one that had given Eva the final shove by
refusing her any help from the society that she helped run. The reason
for this was because Eva used the name Birling which made Mrs Birling
cast judgment over Eva.

Mrs Birling was adamant that she did, 'Nothing I am ashamed of´. It
was clear that Mrs Birling disliked Eva and even admitted that, 'I
didn't like her manner´. Mrs Birling felt no guilt for her part in
Eva's death I think she and Mr Birling felt no guilt for the for the
death of Eva unlike their daughter Sheila who was genuinely sorry for
her part she had played in the run up to Eva's death.

Mrs Birling does dig herself and her son into a hole as she says,
'Secondly I blame the young man who was the father of the child´
unknown to her she was describing her son as he was the father of the
child.

Eric was the last person to come under scrutiny from the Inspector. He
had spent a night with Eva and she had fallen pregnant with his child.
Eric had no stable relationship with Eva like Gerald. On describing
his night with her he said, 'I didn't even remember it that's the
hellish thing´. Eric also admits to stealing money from his father's
office in order to support Eva. However he was very truthful and
admitted straight away that, 'I got it from the office´.

Eric does show remorse and even said: 'I'm not likely to forget´.
However he does not take the blame for Eva's death instead he blames
Mrs Birling saying to her, 'Then - you killed her´. Eric is the only
character that does blame another person in the room. It is hard to
know whether he does sincerely blame Mrs Birling or whether he is
trying to divert the blame away from himself.

Overall I would say Mrs Birling. Mrs Birling was Eva's last chance of
giving her money and a place to live she turned down Eva appeal which
a few months latter forced Eva to take her own life. Mrs Birling
denied Eva help although she knew Eva was pregnant see for some reason
was determined to stop her and persuaded the other members of the
organization to refuse her. Her selfish, cold hearted manner was the
main reason for Eva's death.

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