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An Inspector Calls By J.B. Priestley

1967 words - 8 pages

An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley

The play "An Inspector calls" was written by J.B. Priestly in 1945. It
was set in a Midland Industrial town in 1912. The plot of this
dramatic play is based around a visit by an inspector to an apparently
normal and well-respected family. All the characters are affected by
the death of Eva Smith, but Sheila Birling shows the greatest remorse
and changes the most. In this essay, I will discuss how Sheila changes
during the play and her role in the death of Eva Smith. I am also
going to briefly discuss about the other characters.

In the play "An Inspector calls", each character reacts differently.
Mr Birling, Sheila's father is arrogant and outspoken about his
self-centred beliefs of the world "a man has to mind his own business
and look after his own." He is less vocal as the inspector starts
questioning them and appears somehow ashamed as the story develops.
His involvement

In Eva Smiths' case is that he sacked her from a job she needed
dearly. The inspector mentions that this plays a part in her suicide.
However at the end, when the inspector departs he returns to his old
self, choosing to ignore the inspector's lesson. He puts it aside
stating the fact that Goole was a "hoax". He is only concerned on how
it might have

Affected his knighthood.

Lady Birling, is the most reluctant to admit her guilt in the girl's

Death. She is portrayed as determined but narrow minded, out of touch
with what really happens. Her involvement in the case was that she
rejected Eva at a time of need. This was the final straw before her
suicide. The most Mrs Birling bends towards sympathy is to say: " I'm
sorry she should have come to such a horrible end". She still remains
untouched by the inspector's questioning and refuses to see how her
actions could have lead to Eva Smith's death. "I accept no blame for
it all". After the inspector leaves, she returns to her old self. When
the inspector is discovered to be a hoax, she states: "He certainly
didn't make me confess". She refuses to allow the ordeal any value in
her life.

Gerald, Sheila's fiancé is also involved in this case of Eva Smith. He
had an affair with her the summer before. Gerald had thought his
involvement with Eva Smith was "all over and done with last summer"
but generally comes to recognise that his actions have had lasting
consequences. When inspector Goole reveals the death of Eva Smith, he
responds with the phrase: "My God". Priestly shows Gerald in a more
sympathetic light. Gerald is the one to reveal to the others the fact
that Goole is a hoax. He is described as smiling as he says,
"everything is alright now". Although he helped Eva Smith, he fails to
understand that whether or not he has actually driven a girl to
suicide; he is just as guilty of selfishness and hypocrisy. His...

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